Recently, it was announced that Griffin finished third in the MVP voting behind winner Kevin Durant and runner-up LeBron James. Despite missing 20 games this season, Paul finished seventh overall in the voting.
While Griffin arrived in Los Angeles before Paul, it wasn’t until a 2011 trade to the Clippers that united the duo and transformed them into a winner, notes ESPN’s J.A. Adande:
In Griffin’s rookie season, he became a social media sensation with his high-flying dunks, highlighted by a busy All-Star Weekend that included the car-jumping dunk that launched 1,000 Kia commercials. But the Clippers finished with a 32-50 record. The knock on Griffin was he could do the things to make the nightly highlights, but not the things it took to win games. Paul’s arrival made the Clippers a growth stock. He took the big shots in the fourth quarter and helped them to their first winning record in five years and only the second winning season for the franchise since 1992.
This year, both were outstanding for the Clippers.
Paul averaged 19.1 points while leading the league with 10.7 assists and 2.5 steals per game. Griffin finished sixth in the NBA in scoring with 24.1 points while collecting 9.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists per night.
Since the two play such different positions, it’s tough to gauge value by traditional stats alone.
Looking deeper, Paul’s net rating per 48 minutes was an outstanding +11.7, according to 82games.com. Griffin’s was also strong, but still a little behind Paul’s at +9.7.
Paul’s defense this season was stifling as usual. While he posted a PER of 27.8, Paul held opposing point guards to just a 13.4 PER, good for a difference of +14.4. Griffin’s numbers at power forward were also very good, but not at Paul’s level. His PER of 25.1 while at the 4 was just eight points above the 17.1 PER he gave up to opponents.
In perhaps the most telling value stat of all, Paul and Griffin were dead even in win shares, or an estimate of total wins a player contributes to their team over the course of a season. Both posted win share totals of 12.2 to the Clippers this year, according to basketball-reference.com.
It would appear, based primarily on advanced stats and his veteran leadership, that Paul is still the Clippers’ most valuable player. Had he not missed 20 games this season, we could have easily seen him finish third in the NBA’s MVP voting instead of Griffin.
The Clippers clearly need both to continue their postseason run, but should be relying more on Paul to carry them.