Blake Griffin said what we've all been thinking.
Even though the Los Angeles Clippers power forward has been the centerpiece of a charge toward the top of the Western Conference, thanks primarily to huge developments on the offensive end of the court, the 2014 NBA MVP competition is more of a sprint between two players.
"Naw, I think the MVP race is a two-man race," Griffin told the press after he was unable to steer the Clippers to a road victory over the Denver Nuggets, via Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times.
Did he say which two men he was referring to? Nope, but he didn't really need to.
I suppose there's a chance Griffin could've been planning on boosting the MVP candidacies of Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan. However, if that were the case, a bit more clarification would've been necessary, as absolutely no one in their right mind would assume such a thing.
The 2013-14 NBA season has been all about two players—LeBron James and Kevin Durant, though not necessarily in that order. It's only natural to assume Griffin was referring to those two superstars as the leading pair of MVP candidates.
LeBron vs. Durant has been rehashed ad nauseam during the stretch run, and differentiating between the two is still rather difficult. All it takes is one run of excellence as the regular season winds down, and the race could swing in the proper direction.
In fact, the rest of the MVP conversation might be even more interesting, and it's something Griffin features in rather heavily. That conversation goes beyond who will win the award, instead, discussing the five men who should end up appearing on most ballots.
"But Griffin has joined the conversation as an MVP candidate—even if he and others are considered to be in the next tier behind Durant and James," writes Turner.
No arguments from me.
Griffin, Kevin Love, Joakim Noah, James Harden and Gregg Popovich someone from the San Antonio Spurs all deserve to be parts of the conversation, even if it's still a two-man race between LeBron and Durant. A crowded conversation and a clear-cut set of favorites are not mutually exclusive concepts.
"It's too bad there isn't an awards ceremony when the MVP trophy is handed out, because if there were, Griffin would be sitting on the stage alongside Durant and James," wrote NBA.com during the latest edition of the MVP ladder. "He's been the best player on the hottest team in the league."
Where should Blake Griffin be in the MVP conversation?
Griffin ranked No. 3 in that edition of MVP ladder, and that's exactly where he should fall.
NBA.com knows it. Countless basketball fans are readily aware of how stellar he's been throughout the season.
And Griffin should know it as well, even if he won't give anyone other than the two leading candidates their due credit, himself included.