There are many things that are certain in life.
The sun will rise in the morning and set at night.
“The Bachelor” will always have high ratings because people love drama.
And for the NBA this season, all the talk will be about the Clippers and the Lakers as we get closer to May.
This talk began the moment 2019 Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard decided to burn the Lakers behind the scenes as he convinced Jerry West and other members of the Clippers front office to trade for Paul George in order to sign Leonard after he gave the Lakers all indication that he would sign with them.
We’ve seen these teams duke it out three times in the 2019-2020 season with the Clippers winning round one and two on opening night and Christmas day, and the Lakers winning round three yesterday, March 8 with a score of 112-103.
So the question remains. Which team is most equipped to win the battle of LA and ultimately win an NBA title? It’s time to break it down by categories.
The Dynamic Duos:
Don’t get me wrong, any team would love to have any combination of these four players. But as things stand right now, LeBron James and Anthony Davis are the better duo. James is making a case for regular season MVP number five, with his line of 25.7 PPG, 7.8 Rebounds, and a league leading 10.6 assists per game. Davis leads the team in points per game with 26.7 and averages 9.4 rebounds. The duo combined for 58 points in their victory over the Clippers on Sunday. Even though the Clippers duo has a Terminator commercial together, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George haven’t had enough time on the court to gel together. It seems that if one has a big night, the other either isn’t playing or isn’t doing anything on offense. Leonard is averaging 26.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 5 assists. George has a line of 21.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 3.1 assists.
The Role Players:
These are the two deepest rosters in the NBA. The Clippers land the edge here because their role players are a little more athletic and lead this team to the playoffs last season without Leonard and George. Louis Williams is the greatest sixth man of all-time and they have grinders like Montrezl Harrell and Patrick Beverley who play excellent defense against anyone. Marcus Morris was their major trade deadline acquisition, but he played poorly in Sunday’s loss to the Lakers (1 point, 0-9 field goal, 0-7 3 pt field goal.) The Lakers have good role players as well, but many of them play similar roles. Rajon Rondo and Alex Caruso can’t be on the floor together, and with James playing point guard, there isn’t an opportunity to give them both big minutes. Danny Green and Avery Bradley have been great in the starting lineup, but have been inconsistent at taking higher volumes of shots. Dwight Howard and Javale McGee are only there to play defense and occasionally score in the paint. They also recently added their own Morris, that is the twin brother of Marcus, Markieff.
Frank Vogel was a surprising hire by the Lakers, but he’s done a great job putting this Lakers team in the driver’s seat in the Western Conference. However, Doc Rivers is an all-time great head coach with championship pedigree. I’ll take that experience come playoff time, as rotations become more and more difficult to manage. The pressure is on Vogel to step up and make the right choices in the playoffs.
Yes this is relevant to the conversation because it’s more than likely that these two teams will match up in the Western Conference Finals. This means there is a possibility of seven games being played at the Staples Center between the iconic Lakers and the “little brother” Clippers. The Clippers would be better served with their own stadium (maybe San Diego?), but for now they’ll be stuck playing a best of seven series with a road atmosphere against the NBA’s most historic franchise.
This will be the most exciting playoff series in recent memory. There will be celebrities lined up courtside, watching two great teams battle it out for the title of “King of LA.” The Clippers have the better overall roster and coach, but in this league star power trumps all. James and Davis will need to have monster performances and they will need role players to step up, like Avery Bradley did on Sunday with 24 points on 6-12 3 pointers, in order to reclaim the undisputed spot as the cream of the crop in Los Angeles.
I’ll take the Lakers to beat the Clippers in seven games in the Western Conference Finals.