In what has been a rollercoaster season for the Brooklyn Nets, they’ll now have to fight to keep their season alive in the Play-In Tournament. Going up against the upstart Cleveland Cavaliers, the star-studded Nets will surely have their work cut out for them.

The Nets have endured their fair share of shortcomings this season. These span from Kevin Durant missing significant time with a sprained medial collateral in his left knee to Kyrie Irving constantly in and out of the lineup due to his stance on the COVID-19 vaccination mandate. On top of that, they’ve had to adjust their game plan after trading away James Harden and bringing in Ben Simmons. With all this going for Brooklyn, we’ll now take a look at who the Nets’ X-factor will be during their play-in matchup with the Cavs.

Brooklyn Nets’ X-Factor in 2022 NBA Play-In Tournament vs. Cleveland Cavaliers: Blake Griffin

Currently playing in a reserve role with the Nets, Blake Griffin has become a shell of his former self. At one time, Griffin was an anomaly at the power forward spot with his lethal mix of size, speed and athleticism. In recent years though, he’s been hindered with knee injuries that have limited his ability to play.

Last season with the Nets, he was a major contributor and started to show flashes of his previous form. Griffin has also become a more prolific shooter in recent years. If he can provide the Nets with some rebounding, low-post scoring, 3-point shooting and rim protection, then he could be a huge difference maker during their play-in showdown with the Cavaliers.

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After losing his spot in Brooklyn’s rotation earlier this season, Griffin still has a chance to redeem himself and help out the Nets in a major way. He may not be the player he once was, but Griffin could still thrive as a reliable role player running with the likes of KD, Kyrie, Patty Mills, Seth Curry and Andre Drummond.

As one of the bigger teams in the league, the Cavs will be a tough out and will give the Nets all kinds of trouble on the boards. Plus with floor spacing big men like Lauri Markkanen and Kevin Love, the Nets will have to step up immensely on defense. Griffin could help them out on this front and provide them with quality frontcourt depth.

With Ben Simmons officially ruled out for the game, Griffin will have to rise to the occasion for Brooklyn. Even with career low averages of 6.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game this season, Griffin could still prove to useful for the Nets as they gun for the 7th seed in the East.

Despite playing in the twilight of his career, Griffin may find a way to be a major asset for the Nets during their pivotal play-in game. He may not have the same value as Simmons, Drummond, Nicolas Claxton or LaMarcus Aldridge, but Griffin could add to their roster and give head coach Steve Nash another seasoned veteran to rely upon. This will be crucial for when they face off with this young and aggressive Cavs squad.