WITH ALL-NBA HONOR PAUL AND GRIFFIN IN ELITE COMPANY
Eric Patten, Clippers.com
TEAMMATES SELECTED TO ALL-NBA FIRST OR SECOND TEAMS SINCE 2004-05
In three years together, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have become one of the league’s most dynamic tandems. After being named to the prestigious All-NBA team for the third consecutive time as teammates, they are also honing in on shared greatness.
Paul, who was selected to the All-NBA First Team on Wednesday, and Griffin, who was named to the second team, are the only set of teammates to be named either first or second team All-NBA players in the past three seasons.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder are the only other players in the league who have been named to the first or second team three consecutive times as teammates since 2004-05.
Earlier in the season, Durant and Westbrook’s coach, Scott Brooks, spoke glowingly of Paul and Griffin.
“Blake is one of the best players in the league,” Brooks said. “He scores at a high level. He rebounds. He’s a good passer. He’s a talented player. Doc [Rivers] is smart. He’s going to put him positions where he’s going to have success and Chris Paul does a great job of managing the game. He’s one of the game’s best point guards.”
The ceiling has been easily destroyed when it comes to what Paul and Griffin are capable of as a duo.
They are the first Clippers in franchise history to make three consecutive All-NBA teams. They have played in three straight All-Star Games together, have each finished in the top three in MVP voting during their tenure in Los Angeles, including Griffin this season, and perhaps most impressively have helped the Clippers put up 153 regular-season victories since 2011-12, fourth most in the NBA.
Griffin and Paul have also led the Clippers to two Playoff series victories in that span, including Game 7 wins in 2012 and 2014. Since moving to Los Angeles, the Clippers had won just one postseason series previously.
The 2013-14 campaign was arguably their best yet. The team won a franchise-record 57 games, and Paul, despite missing 20 games (18 due to a separated right shoulder) led the NBA in assists and steals and became the fourth youngest player of all-time to reach 6,000 career assists. Paul, who was joined by Durant and LeBron James on the first team for the third year in a row, set an NBA record with 13 double-doubles to open the season.
Asked about coaching Paul for the first time, Rivers said: ““He’s special. I haven’t been around him enough. But no doubt my eyes know, I’ve played against him enough to know that he’s special and he’s one of the best players in our league. And I think one of the best ever at his position.”
Griffin, who finished third in MVP voting behind Durant and James, is becoming the best at his position as well. He was named to the second team for the third time in a row, averaged a career-high 24.1 points per game, scored 30 points or more 16 times (not including his 38 points in the 2014 All-Star Game), and became the first player since Tim Duncan in 2001-02 to average at least 24 points, nine rebounds and 3.5 assists while shooting 50 percent or better from the field.
Moreover, Griffin helped carry the Clippers in Paul’s stead when the superstar point guard was sidelined from Jan. 4 to Feb. 8, a stint which vaulted Griffin into the MVP conversation for the first time in his career. It’s a place that Paul has been before. He finished third in the MVP race in 2011-12 and was seventh this season. Unlike at any other point in Paul’s career, however, he has a fellow MVP candidate alongside him.