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Doc Rivers is selling something: Blake Griffin second in MVP voting

Apr 10, 2014, 6:10 PM EDT

Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin

It’s not going to be unanimous (because it’s never unanimous) but the vast majority of writers’ MVP ballots that come in will have Kevin Durant No. 1 and LeBron James second. Then it gets interesting for who fills out the final three slots on the ballot.

Doc Rivers thinks Blake Griffin should be in between Durant and LeBron.

Nobody pumps up their players publicly like Doc — with the main audience really being that player, especially on Clippers team where he is trying to build their confidence — and he was at it again speaking with Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com.

“I think second because I’m coaching him,” Rivers said of Griffin. “I think Durant has had the best year. I still think LeBron [James] is still the best player in the NBA but I think Durant has had an MVP year. I don’t know who has had a better year. And I honestly think Blake would be right behind him.”

Doc is selling something, and mostly he’s selling it to Griffin. It’s the same way he said earlier this year DeAndre Jordan should be in the Defensive Player of the Year discussion — no he shouldn’t, but it’s what Jordan needed to hear. Those comments were intended for a one-person audience. Same principle here.

To me Chris Paul is more valuable to the Clippers than Griffin.

I will grant you that the way Griffin stepped up with CP3 out for an extended stretch in the middle of the season may have made Griffin the team’s regular season MVP. Still, it is Paul that makes a bigger difference both ends — the Clippers defense is 4.5 points better per 100 possessions when Paul is on the court, the offense jumps 4.4 per 100. (Griffin spikes the Clippers offense by 5.7 per 100, the defense improves by 1.8.)

I’m not sure how anyone could justify someone at the top of their MVP ballot other than LeBron or Durant. Like I said, where it gets far harder to fill out the ballot is slots 3-4-5 (voters have to pick their top give). Griffin and Paul are in that mix, but not any higher.

  1. fanofthegame79 - Apr 10, 2014 at 6:35 PM

    I don’t know if I would agree that Paul is the Clippers MVP over Griffin. I hear you about the defense, but can’t that also be explained by who replaced Paul while he was injured (not playing)? Griffin’s statistical year was outstanding – and it only improved during Paul’s absence. He also has a much improved mid-range jump shot and he’s beginning to understand how to use he athleticism on the defensive end of the floor.

    • sportsfan18 - Apr 10, 2014 at 8:26 PM

      Griffin is good and has gotten better… but he is not better than Paul.

      He is NOT the 2nd best player in the league either.

      Durant
      LeBron

      Then a group from Paul, Kevin Love, Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins (ALL of these guys have a higher PER this season than Griffin) is in discussion for 3rd best in the league.

      Griffin is somewhere around 8th to 10th best in the league this season…

      • fanofthegame79 - Apr 11, 2014 at 12:16 AM

        You make good points, I’m not arguing much of that. But I do not think that MVP translates into “the best player”….just the best player that season. Taking that into consideration, I think that Griffin has done more for the Clippers this year than Chris Paul has, which is why he would by my Clippers MVP. Griffin is currently 10th in PER, but Brook Lopez is 7th and Brandon Wright is 11th, so take that as you will.

      • 00maltliquor - Apr 11, 2014 at 12:26 AM

        Your on a good one fan

    • cruzan80 - Apr 11, 2014 at 10:33 AM

      @sportsfan7

      “Best player in the league” & “PER” has next to nothing to do with who wins the MVP trophy at seasons end. If that was ever the case…Jordan would have about 12 MVP’s & Lebron would be working on his 7th or 8th. David Robinson, Charles Barkley, Steve Nash, Karl Malone & Derick Rose all got their trophies while another player was actually the “best player in the league”.

      MVP has ALWAYS been propelled by the team’s success….not just individual stats. Carmelo Anthony finished 3rd in the MVP voting last season. This season, even though his stats are BETTER…his name won’t get a single mention this year…what’s the difference??? 54 wins last year…33 wins (so far) this year. You mentioned Kevin Love, Anthony Davis & DeMarcus Cousins because they all have a higher PER but you forgot to mention that they also all have losing records as well. They have all failed to make their team better or at least good enough to make the playoffs…ever. For that reason…none of them will get a vote for MVP….as they shouldn’t.

      Blake Griffin on the other hand. Has played great basketball all year…with & WITHOUT Chris Paul & is at least half the reason why the Clippers have been as successful as they have all season long. He’s a great player helping a good team be a great team. Those guys you mentioned are just looters in the riot.

  2. kb2408 - Apr 10, 2014 at 7:49 PM

    Miami without LBJ is still “probably” a playoffs team (even with a hobbled Wade) in the East, the Clips without Blake probably wouldn’t be a playoffs team in the West but it’s debatable. But if you take Noah off the Bulls they would probably be a lottery team this season. The MVP is not for the best player in the league. Noah has been arguably the most valuable player to his team this season but will probably finish 4th or 5th.

    • casualcommenter - Apr 10, 2014 at 11:55 PM

      The Bulls have the 13th best record in the NBA.

      Name all the times in recent history that a player has won the MVP award when his team wasn’t among the top-8 teams in the NBA in terms of win loss record.

      0.

      MVP, for better or for worse, is the “Best player on an elite team” award.

  3. ProBasketballPundit - Apr 10, 2014 at 9:31 PM

    Apparently, Doc Rivers thinks he should have all the votes for every NBA award. Thing is; if he got any negative feedback about his choices, if things got tough he would just quit and become the NFL award guy… then blame the NBA for pushing him out.

  4. eugenesaxe1 - Apr 10, 2014 at 10:40 PM

    Chris Paul would like to have a word with you Mr. Rivers, and that word rhymes with “fullofit”.

  5. casualcommenter - Apr 11, 2014 at 12:01 AM

    Nothing wrong with a coach advocating for his guys.

    He even threw in the disclaimer that LeBron was a better player than Griffin, and Durant had an MVP-caliber year.

    He just added in a huge vote of confidence in favor of one of his top 2 players.
    Ego management is part of the job description for an NBA head coach. Just ask Phil Jackson.

  6. davidly - Apr 11, 2014 at 2:43 AM

    What’s the record for assist/turnover ratio in a season? I’m thinking that CP3 might have it this year.

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