The Los Angeles Clippers have one of the most talented power forwards in the league, Blake Griffin. While he has stern competition, Griffin is still making his case for MVP consideration.
At the beginning of the season, the Los Angeles Clippers seemed to be in a sticky situation. The organization lost its star player, Chris Paul, after already failing in the postseason. Los Angeles found itself at the bottom of the Western Conference barrel, with no real shot at contending for the title.
While the talent gap between the Clippers and the elite teams in the West definitely is significant, the team is a lot better than many thought. An increased depth has led to a fun style of play to watch. Leading the way has been MVP candidate Blake Griffin.
Before the season began we covered Griffin’s MVP chances this season. With Chris Paul out of the mix, Griffin was expected to take an increased role in the offense. Finally, Clipper fans could see Griffin handle the ball, run the offense and grow into his full potential.
Fans saw most of this potential in the 2013-14 NBA season, in which Griffin finished third in MVP voting behind Kevin Durant and LeBron James. That season Griffin averaged 24.1 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. Griffin’s thunderous dunks won over the hearts’ of the fans and he looked primed to become an MVP in no time.
Due to injury and other stars rising to the top, Griffin’s MVP stock has fallen. After finishing eighth in 2014-15, Griffin has not had an MVP shares. This season, that will all change.
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Thus far Griffin is averaging 24.8 points, 9.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game. Although the sample size is very small, this would be a career-best for Griffin in points and would be his best rebounding metrics since 2011-12.
While there are plenty of players with more points, rebounds and assists, Griffin’s impact is undeniable. Blake Griffin has a 21.0 player impact estimate (PIE), the third best behind only Giannis Antetokounmpo and DeMarcus Cousins. PIE, according to NBA.com, measures a player’s overall statistical contribution.
Four of the last five MVP’s all ranked first in PIE. The only outlier was Steph Curry’s first MVP season. Curry ranked sixth in PIE that season and was voted MVP unanimously. This, of course, was after Curry led the fresh-faced Golden State Warriors to a 67-15 record.
If Griffin can continue to keep the Los Angeles Clippers in the playoff picture his MVP case will only grow stronger. While players such as Antetokounmpo, James Harden and Russell Westbrook certainly are more popular options, Griffin has as good of a chance as anyone.
Again, the sample size is very, very small. However, if that sample size continues to expand throughout the year, Blake Griffin will remain in MVP discussions.