Blake Griffin’s path to NBA MVP relies on Detroit Pistons success

Detroit Pistons Blake Griffin. (Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images)
Detroit Pistons Blake Griffin. (Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images) /

All-NBA player Blake Griffin enters his second full season with the Detroit Pistons. What does his path to being the 2019-20 MVP look like?

Comedian, rideshare driver, MVP?

With the beginning of the 2019-20 season, forward Blake Griffin will enter his second full season as a member of the Detroit Pistons. Last season, Griffin helped take the team to the postseason as an eight-seed before a knee injury caused him to miss some of the remaining regular-season games and into the first round of the playoffs. This offseason, Griffin underwent a knee scope on his left knee but shouldn’t miss any training or preseason time.

Coming off a career year in which he averaged 24.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game on shooting splits of .46/.36./75, the 30-year-old Griffin failed to find himself on any MVP voting list. It’s hard to vote for someone to win the MVP if his team barely crawled to the postseason only to get steamrolled by the Greek Gazelle Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks.

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How can Blake possibly get any MVP votes this upcoming season? Oddsshark even has him at +8000 to win with Antetokounmpo as the favorite at +300. Another run at the eighth seed definitely won’t cut it.

Once upon a time, Griffin was dunking over Kia’s and leading the lobs at Lob City. The Detroit Pistons weren’t even on his radar. The 2013-14 season is the only time he appeared in any MVP voting, finishing third. That season, he averaged 24.1 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game while shooting .52/.27/.71. I’d like to say that his numbers last season were far better and more efficient, but his effective field goal percentage in 2013-14 was .533 compared to .532 in 2018-19.

The one significant difference between his 2013-14 MVP campaign and his career year in 2018-19 is his team’s record. The Los Angeles Clippers went 57-25. The 2018-19 Pistons went 41-41 in a weaker conference.

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Griffin’s numbers are likely to stay there. He might see an increase in his assist totals as the Pistons have brought in the likes of Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley (if he makes the team). Two players that have unquestionable offensive talents. His point total could increase if he becomes a more efficient 3-point shooter, but what more could you ask from a player that seems to mostly do it all?

A better record certainly would’ve helped his cause last season. If the Pistons managed to get the number of wins as the Indiana Pacers and got the fifth-seed, Griffin probably would’ve garnered more attention and a few votes. Unfortunately for him, the only way he’d be close to winning an MVP in the 2019-20 season is to get very close to the one-seed, which, to be frank, is nothing but a farfetched pipedream.

Realistically, if Griffin were to end up on the ballot, receiving one vote or 10 votes or 100 votes, he’d have to have a quality team around him. No MVP has won the award without his team winning at least 50 games, outside of Russell Westbrook winning for averaging a triple-double and 2011-12, lockout-shortened year when LeBron James won.

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In fact, this Reddit post reflects all the way back to 1985. Aside from Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder finishing as a seventh seed, most MVP teams are either the first or second seed. That’s a steep hill to climb as a .500 team and a common eighth-seed playoff team.

As it seems, this feat isn’t very likely, but never say impossible. There’s a genuine belief that the Pistons can reach the 50-win milestone. And if that happens, they might finish as a second or third seed in the Eastern Conference, which means he could make an impact on the MVP race. I’m just saying as the great Justin Bieber and The Fray has said before me, “Never Say Never.”

Let me know what you think in the comments below. It’s a stretch to think Griffin make any sort of dent in the MVP ballots unless the team hits 48+ wins and he puts up similar numbers as last season if not better numbers. But that all depends on his teammates and his health.

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