Doc Rivers: Blake Griffin behind KD

Updated: April 10, 2014, 12:25 AM ET
By Arash Markazi | ESPNLosAngeles.com

LOS ANGELES -- Doc Rivers doesn't have an MVP vote, but if he did, he said his first-place vote would go to Kevin Durant with Blake Griffin getting his second-place vote.

"I think second because I'm coaching him," Rivers said of Griffin. "I think Durant has had the best year. I still think LeBron [James] is still the best player in the NBA but I think Durant has had an MVP year. I don't know who has had a better year. And I honestly think Blake would be right behind him."

Griffin is averaging a career-high 24 points per game as well as 9.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists. He helped the Los Angeles Clippers actually improve their place in the conference standings earlier this season when Chris Paul was sidelined for 18 games.

Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks agreed that Durant deserved the MVP this season and said Griffin should be in the conversation as a top-three candidate along with James.

"Blake is definitely in there," Brooks said. "When Chris Paul went out, you saw that he took his game to another level. You also saw his leadership. It's one thing to put numbers up but you have to put numbers up by leading and helping your team win, and that's what he did. He won a lot of games without him. He's going to be an MVP candidate for many years. He's a young player that has improved every year he's been in the league, and that's what you want your players to do."

Rivers said Wednesday that Durant is one of the hardest players in the league to guard and is still trying to figure out ways to slow him down.

"I haven't figured it out, clearly," Rivers said. "He had 44 the last time we played them. I don't think anyone has figured it out, and I don't know if anyone will. He and [Dirk] Nowitzki are the two hardest offensive players in the league to guard. They're just bigger than everybody as far as their length. Durant runs around like J.J. [Redick]] but he's [6-foot-9] and that makes him very difficult. We haven't seen a player like Durant ever. I don't think there's ever been a player like him, and we're still learning how to guard him."

Arash Markazi

ESPNLosAngeles.com

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