Connect with us

Featured Content

Blake Griffin: MVP Dark Horse



The world forgot about Blake Griffin.

Last season, the now 27-year-old went through the basketball equivalent of a Shakespearean tragedy: he got hurt, he hurt someone else, he got hurt again, and then, in a disturbing final anticlimax, he fizzled away.

After that last moment, in which NBA fans watched and sighed as the Los Angeles Clippers again failed to qualify for the Western Conference Finals, attention was turned to the 73–9 Warriors and their scrappy opposition, the LeBron James-led Cavaliers as a Finals rematch of tremendous historical saliency began. Then summer struck in a sudden haze, and the Kevin Durant sweepstakes unfolded. Simultaneously, the Olympics took place, and Team USA snatched the attention of hoop addicts everywhere.

The world forgot about Blake Griffin.

Even during the preseason, no one seemed to be talking about Blake. And he certainly wasn’t talking about himself. The focus was rightfully on the new-look Warriors and rookies—not a peep about a seven year veteran playing on a team with a tried formula.

And now here we are, less than 10 games into the regular season and the names that adorn the list of MVP candidates are as follows: Davis, Westbrook, LeBron, Durant, Curry, Kawhi, Harden and Lillard. Even Chris Paul has had a bit more respect in the MVP conversation than his All-Star teammate.

But Griffin doesn’t need to speak up; he doesn’t need to get angry. All he needs to do is play. The pressure of the lights is gone—at least until spring—and now he’s healthily taking names.

Oh, and he’s still dunking. A lot.

Blake is in a potential contract year (he can become an unrestricted free agent next summer if he declines his $21.4 million player option), and although he told SI’s Ben Golliver in an interview that he has put little thought into the matter, there is no question that reminding the market of his value is on his mind.

Opening the season, Griffin dropped a season-high 27 points and 13 rebounds against the Portland Trail Blazers. And while almost no one batted an eye, that single game might have sparked an incredible season-long act of redemption.

Six games in, the Clippers are 5–1 and Blake is averaging 20.3 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3 assists in just 32 minutes per game. He is shooting a decent 46.8 per cent, though it appears he is still shaking off rust. More eye-popping is that he’s taking 6.8 free throw attempts a game (his highest since 2013–14); compared to last season where he only took 5.5. Translation: his aggressiveness has been turned up.

We’re also seeing a shiny new jump shot that looks, dare it be said, silky. Griffin isn’t taking a ton of three-pointers, and teams are letting him shoot, but he is already showing that he can now make them on a semi-consistent basis. Moreover, Blake has an improved midrange jumper, though he hasn’t taken many of those yet, with 48.4 per cent of his field goal attempts coming from 0–2 feet of the basket.

While Griffin has largely been cast aside in the public eye, the Clippers haven’t. Many picked them to garner the second seed in the West this season. That raises Blake’s MVP odds significantly. The last time an NBA player won the MVP award without being on a top-two team of their respective conference was in 1988, when a young Michael Jordan and his third seed Bulls snatched it.

Let’s look at those other candidates again:

  • Stephen Curry — Durant as a teammate lowers chances.
  • Anthony Davis — Pelicans will not place second or higher.
  • Kevin Durant — Curry as a teammate lowers chances.
  • James Harden — Rockets will not place second or higher.
  • LeBron James — Legitimate threat if he does not coast.
  • Kawhi Leonard — Legitimate threat.
  • Damian Lillard — Blazers will not place second or higher.
  • Russell Westbrook — Thunder will not place second or higher.

One could argue that CP3 takes away from Griffin’s odds. This is a fair point, and in years past, it has affected both players’ MVP hopes. But if Griffin continues to tear up the court, it will be difficult to say he hasn’t taken over as the best player on the roster.

Of course, this is all based on a laughably small sample size. Anything could happen. Maybe that’s the reason you shouldn’t pick Blake; or maybe that’s exactly the reason you should. But don’t be surprised as months go by and the season is winding down, if a familiar face resurfaces.

The world forgot about Blake Griffin.

That was a mistake.

Joshua is Editor-in-Chief at Press Basketball. His love of the sport started with watching a LeBron James game in 2003, and he quickly took a shine to his Canada-based Toronto Raptors. His NBA-related words have been found at Hoops Habit,'s HOOP magazine, and Raptors Republic. He loves words with a passion and is always writing. Joshua is a published author, poet, sportswriter, and film critic.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Featured Article

Ride The Wave

Back in October the sky was the limit. LeBron had decided to move to LA and join the Lakers. Things were good then.



Back in October the sky was the limit. LeBron had decided to move to LA and join the Lakers, drawing in a decent support team and a lot of talk that the West was looking incredibly dominant next to a “weaker” East. Things were good then.

Five months later and things couldn’t be farther from that idylistic picture. The East thrived without the King and GMs put together some of the most noteworthy teams in a while. And the Lakers? The Lakers currently sit in the 11th spot of the Western Conference with very little hope of making it to the playoffs. They’re a team that is constantly attacked for their lack of chemistry, skill, and effort. For the first time in a long time, LA became synonymous with “hopeless”.

This wasn’t the future we saw for the King.

On the heels of a night filled with one of his greatest achievements ever, the Lakers as a team walked away with a loss to the Denver Nuggets. A night that began on a high note went out on one that was equivalent to sour candy. Furthermore, a frustrated team left an arena, hopped on social media, and found a bevy of congrats for their star player, while enduring the storm that came with another Lakers loss.

It seems that James’ stardom has reached a tipping point, one that makes him a GM one moment, the King of the league the next, and finally the biggest point of contention within the locker room. The most notable thing is that it is clearly wearing him down. Chris Martin let us know that “nobody one said it was easy”, but you’ve got to ask yourself, does it have to be so hard?

The answer is unfortunately, yes. It’s always going to be this way, and there is no fighting the current, but there is beauty in riding the wave. Embracing that moment when the wave comes crashing down on you is important, because it’s always going to happen, but your attitude will always be remembered. LeBron rides high, and keeps things in the positive light for the media, but he’s got to realize that they are writing his story, and he doesn’t have to play into their’s. Ride the wave, and take the loss in stride with all the great that has come with it, but take the loss because your part of a team that is.

The wave has crashed down, but the current will bring another.

Continue Reading

Featured Content

Year 15 | A Mini Documentary

Year 15 of a legacy…



What’s to come for the man on top, and what got him here?

It’s Year 15 of a man’s career, but it’s also Year 15 of a legacy…

Created by Tristan Laughton | Twitter: @Ctrice

Continue Reading


Something Out of Nothing



It’s March 2016, and I’m driving with Alan Shane Lewis to Montreal to meet with Marc Griffin and Phil Boileau. We’re meeting to speak about this exciting new idea I pitched to them. We were tired of spinning the wheels on our own individual internet shows, and I told them that it was time we stopped waiting for a network and became the network.

We spoke that weekend about creating a community of content creators that all loved ball and came together to make unique content with unique voices – voices we felt were never heard in the mainstream. This community was the base of Press and we’d continue to push forward from that spot. We spoke about some amazing show ideas, article ideas, social media plan. It was truly an exciting time, and still one of the best weekends of my life.

Two years later and that group is a lot smaller, and that idea is Press Basketball.

It caught fire at the beginning and we had people joining our bright shiny new plaything left, right, and center. It was exciting, but now I kind of realize that a lot of it was just that we were that “bright shiny new thing”.

We ended up with a lot of Press Basketball “members” but when I stepped back and looked at what was happening… it wasn’t what I’d imagined. The fire burned out. The idea was gone. We had just become another thing trying to stay alive, waiting for some deus ex machina to show up with money and make everything okay.

I’ve gone through most of my life making something out of nothing. It’s never easy, but when it happens it’s always worth it… ALWAYS. Press made me feel alive at a point. It was literally all I could think about, and while it still is on my mind, it doesn’t make me feel alive. This hurts more than I can ever explain.

Changes are coming my friends. We’re not laying down and dying, and if we do it’s not going to be like this.

The core of Press will be setting fire to a lot over the next few weeks and I personally can’t wait for this to start. From the ashes something new will rise (I watched a lot of XMEN growing up).

Stay tuned, because it’s not over.

Continue Reading

Featured Content

Featured Article12 months ago

Ride The Wave

Back in October the sky was the limit. LeBron had decided to move to LA and join the Lakers. Things...

Featured Content1 year ago

Year 15 | A Mini Documentary

Year 15 of a legacy...

Editorial2 years ago

Something Out of Nothing

It’s March 2016, and I’m driving with Alan Shane Lewis to Montreal to meet with Marc Griffin and Phil Boileau....

Featured Content2 years ago

Lonzo Ball: The New Face of the Lakers

Lonzo Ball is the new face of the Los Angeles Lakers franchise. The new savior. The Big Baller Brand is...

Content2 years ago

MELO-dy Cool

Carmelo Anthony has been traded away from the New York Knickerbockers to the Oklahoma City Thunder. You probably knew this...

Featured Content2 years ago

Reloaded Raptors Banking on Young Guns

Masai Ujiri is a smart guy. No matter which conference your team is in, you’re either stuck with the issue...

Featured Content2 years ago

Jamal Murray: Maestro in the Making

It’s been four years since the Denver Nuggets have made the NBA playoffs. The last time the Nuggets were playing...

Articles2 years ago

Nikos Galis: The Greatest Greek To Ever Do It

When you grow up Greek, you get the entire culture instilled into your veins. From the stubbornness that flows with...

Featured Content2 years ago

Fantasy Tips from a Man Who Played One Year and Lost

Let me set the scene for you: A cutthroat, 10-team head-to-head league with a zero dollar buy-in, and a few...

Featured Content2 years ago

Talking LA Clippers with Tom West — TWT 99

Hey there, and welcome to another episode of Timeout with Ti. Last time out on episode 98, I (Ti Windisch)...

Press Basketball - The Alternative Basketball Content Creators