- Blake Griffin and Kyle Kuzma make for an odd pairing of long shots for NBA MVP
- How far is Blake Griffin’s fall from NBA’s elite?
- Can Kyle Kuzma be a true superstar in the Association?
With a very fine magnifying glass at the bottom of MyBookie’s picks for NBA MVP for the upcoming season, you’ll find an odd couple of players paired in the same range as ultra-long shots to take home the trophy: Pistons forward Blake Griffin and Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma.
2019 NBA MVP Odds
|LeBron James, Lakers||+250|
|Anthony Davis, Pelicans||+330|
|Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks||+400|
|James Harden, Rockets||+400|
|Blake Griffin, Pistons||+20000|
|Kyle Kuzma, Lakers||+20000|
An odd couple indeed. Griffin, as recently as 2013-14, was third in MVP voting as an evolving do-everything dynamo for the Los Angeles Clippers. His breakout coincided with Chris Paul getting injured, forcing Griffin to unleash all his talents to keep the Clips relevant in the West.
Meanwhile, Kuzma just finished a campaign where he was by far the most accomplished rookie on the Lakers, which seemed far-fetched to start the year because this was the same team that drafted Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 pick.
Blake Griffin vs Kyle Kuzma Stats
|43.8||Field Goal Percentage||45.0|
It’s a case of on the rise vs on the decline as Griffin – once a human springboard that lit up the highlight reel – has become more of a below-the-rim player, with injuries sapping him of that prodigious athletic ability. He still went for 21.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists per last year, but he was limited again due to injuries, appearing in just 58 games.
It’s not been great for him lately. The dude was shipped to Detroit after signing what he believed was a stay-in-LA lifetime contract, the same season he signed it! The Clips went all out too in their free agency pitch. Gross.
The Clippers gave Blake Griffin a crazy-elaborate free agent pitch, even mock-retiring his jersey to the rafters…six months later he's shipped off to Detroit, a team he'd never have even taken a meeting with. Expect every big free agent this summer to demand a no-trade clause.
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) January 30, 2018
To make matters worse, he’s been in the tabloids for a messy separation, one which claimed he was paying a MASSIVE amount in child support. Thankfully, it appears that these were just rumors. This guy can’t catch a break right now.
Meanwhile, Kuzma has just scratched the surface of what he can become, which could be the model for the ideal stretch forward. A big man who can shoot, but is athletic enough to play almost anywhere on the court is something you want in this new-look NBA, where it’s pretty easy to be phased out if you’re 6’9” and limited in any category.
— Swish Cultures (@swishcultures) August 5, 2018
He’s just 22, and connected on better than 36% on from deep. As his role evolves, you can expect the numbers to rise across the board, especially since he’s got a new teammate… some guy named LeBron.
The pick: If you’re eyeing either of these picks, you must love a long shot. While Kuzma is younger and has untapped potential, he is on the same roster as LeBron Freaking James, who is the early favorite to bag his fifth MVP trophy.
While Kuzma is younger and has untapped potential, he is on the same roster as LeBron Freaking James, who is the early favorite to bag his fifth MVP trophy.
Meanwhile, Griffin is the undisputed man in Motown and, though maybe slightly past it, is closer to his prime than Kuzma. It’s not inconceivable that he put together a monster year in a conference for the taking. But those injuries, man…
It’s Griffin, but look for other action to hedge this. I’d suggest finding one that says Griffin will be in Top 5 MVP voting.