Clippers: Breaking Down Chris Paul and Blake Griffin’s MVP Chances


The Los Angeles Clippers have fared well in the Western Conference the last two seasons, finishing third both years. However, with a revamped bench the team hopes to finish with the best record in the conference; and with wins come awards.

Chris Paul and Blake Griffin finished sixth and third, in the last two MVP races. Considering the roster upgrades and the potential to break the franchise’s regular season win record (57 in 2013-2014), the duo could produce this season’s Most Valuable Player.

Looking back on previous MVP winners, the last ten all finished with the first or second record in the league. The last player to win the award outside that range was Steve Nash in ’05-06 — is Phoenix Suns won 54 games and had the league’s fourth-best record.

Although the Clippers’ win total has the potential to improve, Griffin and Paul will likely split some MVP votes. This could be cause for concern and might allow someone else (I’m looking at you LeBron) to claim the award.

So what would each player need to produce in order to be named MVP?

February 19, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (3) controls the ball against the defense of San Antonio Spurs guard

Tony Parker

(9) during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Paul

Last season, Paul had one of the best of his career. He averaged 19.1 points per game, 10.2 assists, 4.6 rebounds, 1.9 steals and only 2.3 turnovers.

If that wasn’t enough, he also had great shooting splits of .485/.398/.900. He shot above his career average in every statistical category and played all 82 games for the first time in his career.

Paul will need to post a similar stat line and shooting splits, but will need to find a way to lead his team to more wins. How can he achieve those extra wins an MVP candidate needs?

First, his assist rate will need to climb.

For most point guards that is a lofty expectation. However, it is conceivable that Paul can dish 11 or 12 assists per game next season, considering the additional talent that was added to the roster.

Not only will he have the option of kicking the ball out to Paul Pierce (38.9 percent from three last year), but also creating finishing opportunities for Josh Smith (career 67 percent finisher within three feet of the rim). Paul will have a few more weapons this season and more depth, which should allow head coach Doc Rivers to conserve his minutes and keep him fresh.

Although his scoring might take a hit, Paul would have to be considered one of the favorites for MVP on a 59-plus win Clippers team while posting 18 points, 11.5 assists and similar shooting splits to last season.

Apr 14, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Blake Griffin

In the last two seasons we have seen Griffin emerge as one of the best players in the league. His athleticism and strength are incredible and his skills are beginning to catch up.

Early in his career, Griffin was known as a maniac dunker who would sacrifice his body on the way to a highlight-reel slam. However, the University of Oklahoma product has expanded his game and become a more well-rounded player.

Griffin’s passing has turned him into one of the league’s most versatile forwards. His vision is unbelievable, as the video above shows. He is able to anticipate his teammates’ next movements and can read a defense in transition as well as most point guards. To put the last statement into perspective, Griffin is one of four players in NBA history 6’9″ and taller to average 20 points per game and produce an assist percentage of at least 25, per Basketball-Reference, joining elite company in Kevin Durant, Kevin Garnett and Larry Bird.

Additionally, the range on Griffin’s jumper has improved each season and he shot 40.4 percent from 16 feet and out last year, compared to his 37.3 career mark.

Overall, his 21.9 points per game, 7.6 rebounds and 5.3 assists show just how much he has developed. His impressive streak of games last season without Paul showed his elite potential coming to fruition.

However, his own article in the Players Tribute leaves some doubt we will see his entire repertoire during the regular season.

"My first few years in the league, I was relying on my athleticism to get me by, because that’s what got me to the NBA. The problem with that is, you end up getting really, really tired by February. My rookie year I tried to get out of bed on a road trip near the end of the season and I was like, Am I physically able to walk right now? I went out on the floor that night and ran up and down just trying to look like a real NBA human."


Comparing both player’s potential on a loaded Clippers’ roster this season is intriguing. You can make a case that both should be MVP candidates, but in reality one will supersede the other.

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Odds are, Paul will have a better shot at winning the award over Griffin. He controls the ball, plays 100 percent every game and has more talent around him than any other point in his career.

Paul should be the favorite on the team to win a the much-deserved award. Now it is up to him and the rest of the roster to win enough games to make this a reality.

Next: Matt Barnes says the Clippers are the enemy now