Los Angeles Clippers: Blake Griffin will have an MVP caliber year

PLAYA VISTA, CA - SEPTEMBER 25: Blake Griffin (Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images)
PLAYA VISTA, CA - SEPTEMBER 25: Blake Griffin (Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Clippers are without the man who revolutionized their franchise, point guard Chris Paul. However, now Blake Griffin has room to unleash his full potential.

Losing Chris Paul would be a big hit to any team, for the Los Angeles Clippers, it looked to be a massive hit. Paul agreed to a sign and trade deal that sent him to the Houston Rockets for Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker and Lou Williams, amongst others. With Blake Griffin yet to make a decision on his player option, this loss was huge.

With Paul out of the picture, common wisdom point towards Griffin walking away as well. The Boston Celtics, Oklahoma City Thunder and even Los Angeles Lakers were all names thrown in the hat for Griffin.

However, the star power forward shocked many with his decision. Griffin agreed to a five-year, $171 million contract with a player option in 2021-22. With Paul out of the picture, Griffin cashed in on a huge payday; his average annual salary is over $34 million.

This left the Clippers in an unorthodox position. Without Paul they are no longer title contenders, that is without a doubt. Especially in today’s NBA when it takes a super team to even compete, these Clippers may not be able to defeat the top four teams in the Western Conference.

However, they obviously are not in rebuild mode yet, either. Los Angeles still has Griffin and DeAndre Jordan in the frontcourt, with key role players alongside them. Williams is one of the best sixth men in the game, Beverley is a defensive menace and the team added European superstar Milos Teodosic and solid NBA talent Danilo Gallinari.

In the Eastern Conference, the Clippers could easily pull away with as high as a third seed over the Washington Wizards or Toronto Raptors. In the West, a bottom three seed seems more likely. However, much more is obtainable. Especially with the MVP like season Griffin is destined to have.

Griffin has always been a great player that, when healthy, is one of the best power forwards in the game. For a while, Griffin looked to be the best power forward in the game and definitely is still the most talented. Although, with injuries amongst other things, Griffin’s numbers have slipped the last three seasons.

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Griffin’s passing numbers are up, as he averaged about five assists per game over the last three years. However, the scoring and rebounding are down. Griffin has not averaged more than 22 points and 8.5 rebounds a game since the 2013-14 season.

It is the 2013-14 season though that gives all the signs how Griffin will perform this season. That year, the power forward averaged 24.1 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. Griffin was selected to the All-NBA Second Team, the all-star game and most importantly – finished third in MVP voting that season.

While Kevin Durant was head and shoulders above the rest, Griffin put together a nice resume that garnered some attention. Now, with Chris Paul out, this is his team. No longer is he playing with a ball dominant point guard, he is the number one option, he is the playmaker.

Because of that, I expect his points and assists per game to shoot up. Without Paul on the Los Angeles Clippers, Griffin could average more than 25 points and 10 rebounds per game. While that may not be enough to win the award, especially with all the talent in the NBA, he certainly will receive some recognition.

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Whether or not the Los Angeles Clippers are a legit team or fall out of the playoff picture all depends on the play of Blake Griffin. Luckily, next season NBA fans will see a brand new Blake Griffin.