Blake Griffin has stepped up with quality minutes, Nicholas Claxton has shown the promising flashes he did this season, and in general the Nets have gotten enough from their big men to maintain their status as the team to beat these playoffs.
However, heading into the postseason, Jeff Green was seen as the critical big man — and the fifth Beatle in closing lineups — for the Nets. He has been out since the Boston series with a strained plantar fascia, but he will be back on Sunday for Game 4 against the Bucks, the team announced.
Jeff Green is AVAILABLE for Game 4 pic.twitter.com/mOCK7pZOvX
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) June 13, 2021
Green averaged 11 points and 3.9 rebounds a game for the Nets this season, but the numbers do not do justice to his value. He is a better defender than Griffin, a switchable big man on one end and shot 41.2% from 3 this season on the other — he can space the floor in a way Claxton cannot.
Green is part of what, on paper, is the Nets’ best lineup: James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Joe Harris, Kevin Durant, and Green. That five-some had a net rating of +26.7 and was dynamic on offense and solid on defense in limited minutes this season, and it was a rotation Steve Nash was expected to lean heavily upon in the postseason.
He will not lean on it in Game 4 as Harden remains out with a strained hamstring. But Nash now has Green to throw into the mix.