Which LA Team is Better?


(Image from ESPN)

One of most desirable places to play in the NBA is Los Angeles; the bright lights, A-list Hollywood celebrities at every game, and that warm California weather with the ocean just minutes away from the city is everything most players desire. Just talking about it is making me want to move from Toronto! But, even more importantly, there’s a new reason to love LA, and that’s because the Los Angeles basketball rivalry is the strongest it’s ever been.

Both the Lakers and the Clippers hit the lottery this off season by adding superstars such as Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, and Paul George. With that being said, this begs the question of which LA team is better?

Lakers

After another down season where the Lakers missed the playoffs, they’ve added multiple pieces which make the Lakers title favourites for many.

The addition of Anthony Davis was necessary and took a load of Laker assets to achieve. Moreover, they didn’t stop there and finally got shooters! Danny Green & Quinn Cook are excellent three point shooters which should help with spacing on the floor.

The biggest strength the Lakers have is LeBron James and Anthony Davis. AD is arguably the most talented player LeBron has ever played with. He is not even close to his potential and his averages of 26 PPG, 12 boards, 1.6 steals, and 2 blocks are absurd and unheard of. He has MVP potential written all over him and the only thing that’s really held him back is injuries and in my opinion, a poor supporting cast in New Orleans during his tenure. The Lakers have arguably two of the best five players in the league and are ready to compete with this dynamic duo.

The biggest weakness the Lakers have is their point guard situation. There are rumors that LeBron will be officially starting at point guard this season. Although this is the case, LeBron’s been playing this role as the primary ball handler his entire career. So, I don’t think this comes as a surprise at all.

The real depth chart at the PG spot is as follows: Rajon Rondo, Quinn Cook, & Alex Caruso. Not the most impressive group of players at one of the most important positions in the league. Especially considering the quality of point guards in the Western Conference (cc. Dame Lillard, Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook, etc).

Clippers

So, the Clippers got Kawhi Leonard and Paul George this off season. They added these stars to a team stacked with players who play with a chip on their shoulder.

They have a scrappy guard in Pat Bev, one of the greatest sixth men in NBA history in Lou Will, & Montrezl Harrell, an underrated beast.

The case for the Clippers as the best team rather than the Lakers is the fact that they have close to and if not, the best defensive team in the league. This roster is STACKED defensively. Kawhi, a defensive player of the year, PG & Pat Bev, first team all-defence, as well as Montrezl Harrell.

This team is not going to be fun to play against. Not only that, but Kawhi is a menace. He is arguably the best player/best defensive player in the world.

The saying DEFENCE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS is this team’s motto and the Clippers are finally here after many years to compete for LA’s favourite team.

The biggest weakness I believe the Clippers have is the injury prowess of their superstar players. If one of the two players above suffer a serious injury, it would really put the Clippers in a bad spot. This could be said for the Lakers as well, but we need to remember that LeBron has had additional time to rest this off season (first time in 8 years LeBron hasn’t been in the Finals) and AD also missed the post-season and sat out games near the end of the season due to his unwillingness to play for the Pelicans.

On the other hand, Kawhi was banged up by the time the Raps made it to the finals and Paul George is coming off shoulder surgery this off season.

There aren’t many glaring holes in the LA Clippers line up as noted below as per First Take with exception to the center position and a lack of size.

(Image from First Take)

(Image from ESPN)

If Anthony Davis gets more minutes at the center position now that Cousins is injured and likely out for the season, he will feast on anybody at the center spot that the Clippers have.

Conclusion

The arguments are in and there is in fact a winner. Although it was close, the Lakers edge the Clippers as the best team in LA.

My argument for this is the following: the combined talent of the two best players on the Lakers are better than the two best players on the Clippers. Yes, LeBron is aging and his defence is spotty, but I am not going to doubt LeBron, especially in the post-season. His averages of 28 PPG, 8 assists, and 8 rebounds show that he hasn’t slowed down and I’m sure he’s going to tweak his game to at least be considered a top 3 talent in the league albeit his age.

Moreover, AD > PG. I don’t think anyone can argue against this. AD has more talent and is just an overall better player. He doesn’t have the accolades as of yet, but he’s just 26 and this is just the beginning for him.

The pairing of LeBron and AD also just seems to be a nicer fit on paper. Both PG and Kawhi are natural small forwards who are ball dominant while I can envision a devastating pick and roll offence with LeBron and AD.

Generally speaking, the team with the best player(s) tend to win and in this case, the Lakers edge the Clippers with depth and the combination of LeBron/AD > Kawhi/PG.

Case closed. Do you agree with me? Hit up the comments below to let me know your thoughts.