The race for the Most Valuable Player award is a two man race between KD and King James right? Not so fast. Los Angeles Clipper forward Blake Griffin has been playing at an MVP caliber level for the majority of this season, leading the Clippers to third place in the extraordinarily competitive Western Conference. The impressive part is that he did this without the help of the league’s top point guard, Chris Paul, for the majority of the season.
The main reason for Griffin’s success is that he has worked vigorously on the Achilles heel of his game; his jump shot. Some players tend to take the summer off to relax and enjoy their riches, or try to get away from basketball. Not Blake Griffin. The work he put in the off-season is evident. Griffin is fourth in the league in points scored this season with 1,654 and is averaging a career best 24.3 points per game and 70 percent shooting from the free throw line. Not to mention pulling down 9.7 rebounds every game he touches the court. This is a huge increase in production from last year where he averaged 18.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, and a pedestrian 66 percent shooting from the line.
Obviously all the publicity is on Durant and LeBron for the MVP race as they are nationally recognized as the top two players in the NBA. Both players and former Finals opponents are having spectacular seasons in their own rights. Durant had a record setting 30 point game streak and LeBron going for 61 points against an average Charlotte team. Both players have played their rear ends off there is no doubt in that but no one in the NBA has taken more physical abuse than Blake Griffin has this season. It seems every other game Griffin is involved in a tussle of some sort. When Griffin, being the physical specimen that he is, drives to the basket he often gets whacked multiple times before a foul is called. During a Clippers game this season, NBA Analyst Reggie Miller pointed out via instant replay Griffin getting fouled on five separate occasions before the ref finally blew the whistle.
After leading the Clip Show to their 11th straight win, Griffin has collected his third Player of the Week award this season. When asked about his thoughts about the MVP race he quickly put the spotlight off of himself by saying, “I think the MVP is a two man race,” Griffin said. He credits his team’s recent success to his teammates praising everyone for stepping up and playing their best basketball. At the end of the day, Blake Griffin doesn’t care about the MVP hardware. He cares about one thing and that’s winning a championship. He’s got a certain moxie that separates him from the rest of the NBA. He may not have the pedigree of King James, nor the shooting touch of KD. But he has the heart of a champion, and freakish athleticism to match.