The Rivalry brewing in the City of Angels: Clippers vs. Lakers

It seems okay to proclaim that the dust from this year’s NBA Free Agency signings and trades has settled. Now with that being said, arguably the greatest rivalry developing in the league right now is between the two teams in Los Angeles. Lakeshow versus the Clipshow. LeBron James and Anthony Davis versus Kawhi and Paul George. Both teams with relatively new looks, passionate management groups, and a legacy throughout the 213.

Forward LeBron James on his way to the rim in a game against the Clippers last year (Image via @Lakers on Twitter)

Taking a look at the Lakers, they have the championship pedigree, arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, a top five center in Anthony Davis, and General Manager Rob Pelinka running the operations of the team among other things. They did not establish themselves as a top tier team in the league last year as they were plagued with multiple injuries, team trade drama, power shifts in management, and as a result where overtly inconsistent in everything that they did. However, they have a chance to essentially start fresh and begin again. With the trade drama being put to an end in the best way, new trainers being brought in, and Pelinka getting the “keys to the house” they are poised to make a comeback and take the league by storm. As long as the team works through their injuries and other low points and commits to winning as many ball games as they can while developing a solid team nucleus, the “Lakeshow” will more than be back: they’ll be better than they have ever been. The Laker organization did a great thing in trying to get as many players as they can for as cheap as they can and signed a number of guards including Danny Green, Avery Bradley. and Quinn Cook. At the guard spot they have fixed their depth and consistency issue for the most part but only time will tell. They are still missing a dynamic scoring point guard who can really make a difference but with their cap situation and the way things were looking, it did not seem likely that they would be able to sign some excellent guard like Kemba Walker. When it comes to the frontcourt they are more than set after securing multiple average to good big men like Demarcus Cousins, Jared Dudley and holding onto a guy like Kyle Kuzma is central to the championship wishes as well as the long-term success of this franchise. This leads me into the biggest problem that this team has created for itself: too much loading up for this year without thinking for the future. Yes of course they need to play now in order to keep James but they also need to realize that he won’t be there forever. Pooling all your resources into one year with manufactured team chemistry is a very dangerous experiment but hey can one blame them? This is a huge year for the Laker franchise in terms of holding onto James and securing any long term success. They’re clearly in a solid position but again only time will tell. Due to their great bipolarity as a franchise and the short amount of time spent in tooling this roster I can predict that they will perform good in the regular season and make it to the playoffs but how far they go is dependent on what I love to account for-variable change. They are clearly not better than the Clippers but that’s what we’ll get into right now.

Team Owner Steve Ballmer at an introductory conference with newly acquired talents Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. (Image via Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles Clippers are by far and large the most formidable team in the league both in the short and long term. Not only were they able to secure two of the top guard-forward players in the league but they were able to in a way that puts them in a phenomenal shape in the coming years. Ever since Steve Ballmer purchased the team and Jerry West joined the Clipper organization as an executive board member, they have been absolutely killing it. By building a playoff contending team coupled with young stars and veteran role players they built an enticing landing spot for the top free agents in the league. They have also been able to consistently compete against the best teams in the league night in and night out; their determination in playing the long game has finally payed its dividends. I always talk about how essential the ownership group and management is to a team’s success and this is an excellent display of that ideology. Ballmer was able to secure West who could then work his magic and secure the big time free agents and players in Patrick Beverly, Kawhi Leonard, and Paul George. The defensive effort that this team will bring this year is going to be truly frightening. Guards will be terrified to call for an iso play and big men will be hesitant to post up against their big time front court in Ivica Zubac, Montrezl Harrell, JaMychal Green, and many others. Any perimeter based team will not stand a chance against a team with both Leonard and George locking down the perimeter on both sides of the court. The offensive firepower that Head Coach Doc Rivers will have an amazing time in managing is going to be truly unstoppable. Whether it’s harnessing the God-given talent of Kawhi Leonard and allowing him to run the offense or letting Paul George rain threes from deep like it’s nothing, it’s evident that their starting lineup is going to be deadly. Coupled with a solid bench in guys like Lou Williams, Landry Shamet, along with other previously mentioned players they will be able to go the distance with any team in the league. Are they currently better than the Lakers? Yes. Will they stay better than the Lakers? In my opinion yes, simply on the fact that they are the sure bet and exemplify what a stable sports franchise should be. Though both teams have developed themselves in a way where they can both compete for a championship I truly feel that the Clippers are the better team and will stay dominant for the next 3-6 years.

October 22nd, 2019 is when this rivalry will be put on display and the league will be ready for the journey to the promised land. It’s going to be remarkable to see how these teams get out and play, how they deal with drama, injuries, trades, and so forth. One thing I can guarantee is that the Clippers will stay solid. What are your thoughts??? Connect with me on Instagram @s.h.a.h.z.e.b and check out our company’s IG page @atletissports. Signing off for now and let’s get ready for a beautiful season of basketball!!!

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