After being named Western Conference Player of the Week for the 3rd time this season, Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin wasn’t entertained by MVP talk. He quickly dismissed the notion of being a candidate, stating that the award will be between LeBron James and Kevin Durant, and crediting his great play this season as a benefit from the collective effort of the team.
“No, I think the MVP race is a two-man race (James and Durant). The stretch of games that we’ve played and we’ve been successful has been a huge team effort.Jamal Crawford was playing out of his mind before he got hurt and guys have stepped up and really done their part. With our team I don’t think it’s one guy that’s making us go. I genuinely believe it’s been a total team effort.”
Griffin is averaging a career high 24.3 points, 9.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and is shooting 53 percent from the field this season. For the week of March 10-16, Griffin averaged 27 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 4.8 assists, while scoring at least 20 points in all four of the games played. The Clippers were also on an 11-game winning streak before losing to the Denver Nuggets, 110-100 on March 17. Griffin, however, finished the game with 26 points and 12 rebounds, marking the 27th consecutive game where he scored at least 20 points.
As unselfish of a statement as it was, Griffin will likely garner many MVP votes with the way his game has been elevated this season. During an 18-game stretch where point guard Chris Paul went down with an injury in December and January, Griffin averaged 27.5 points and 8.2 rebounds while leading the Clippers to a 12-6 record. His newly developed jump shot has taken his game from primarily being a highlight dunk reel, to one of the elite power forwards in the NBA.
According to basketball-reference.com, Griffin is shooting about 40 percent this season from 10-16 feet, a drastic improvement from his career field goal percentage of 31 percent from that range in his first three seasons. His free throw percentage is a respectable 70 percent now, after shooting 66 percent from the stripe last season and 52 percent in 2011-12. Griffin may deny his MVP legitimacy, or at least won’t admit it publicly, but expect him to steal some votes away from James and Durant at the end of the season.
Photo Credit: Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images
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