The Battle of LA will be a hot topic in the 2019-2020 NBA season. Both teams formed dynamic duos this offseason. Lakers traded for a disgruntled superstar big man Anthony Davis in exchange for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, the Number 4 overall pick, and multiple future first-round picks and pick swaps. The Clippers shocked the world in the middle of the night by agreeing to terms with Kawhi Leonard and then sent four unprotected first-round picks, one protected first-round pick, two pick swaps, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Danillo Gallinari in exchange for MVP candidate Paul George. Making one of the best defensive duos, perhaps we have ever seen. The Clippers and Lakers made it clear this offseason they are in win-now mode and are going to be in some tough battles this upcoming NBA season. But who has the advantage? Who put together a better team?
Argument for the Clippers
The Clippers have such an impressive defensive unit. Patrick Beverley is one of the best defensive point guards in the league. Montrezl Harrel, despite only being six feet eight inches tall, is a top tier defensive center. Then other solid wing defenders like Mo Harkless, who they acquired in the four-team trade that sent Jimmy Butler to Miami, also JaMychael Green who could hold his own defensively. They are also super talented offensively. The sixth man of the year Lou Williams is still coming off the bench a year after he averaged around 22 points per game They also have sharpshooter Landry Shamet that they got from the 76ers in the deal that sent Tobias Harris to Philly. Also, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are proven elite scorers as well as being terrific defensively. The Clippers are so deep and have both talented offensive and defensive players. Just a great well-rounded team with a lot of depth, also led by a great Head Coach in Doc Rivers.
Argument for the Lakers
The Lakers were disappointed that they could not get Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard in Free Agency. They lost out on multiple role-players as they waited for Leonard’s decision, but they were able to rebound very well. When Leonard made his decision, the Lakers had only six players on the roster. As soon as it was announced Kawhi was a Clipper, Lakers responded fast. They signed sharpshooter Danny Green to a two-year deal worth thirty-million. Then re-signed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Javale McGee, Rajon Rondo, and Alex Caruso. They also went out and signed Avery Bradley and then DeMarcus Cousins. Overall, they were able to make many solid moves after losing out on Leonard. It was also announced that LeBron James is very likely to be the team’s starting point guard next season. That gives them a very tall starting five of LeBron James, Danny Green, Kyle Kuzma, Anthony Davis, and DeMarcus Cousins or JaVale McGee. That is one huge advantage they have over the Clippers. The frontcourt of the Clippers could very well be Paul George and Montrezl Harrel, which would have to guard Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. That is a huge advantage the Lakers have and a match up many expect the Lakers to exploit. The Lakers are filled with star power and many playmakers along with guys who can occasionally shoot the ball. They are led by Frank Vogel who took the Pacers to competitive series against the Big 3 in Miami in the past.
Which team has the edge?
These two could very well meet in the Conference Finals, which will likely be a very competitive seven-game series. The Clippers have a deeper team, but the Lakers have so much star power with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, even DeMarcus Cousins. The Clippers might have a better regular-season record. But come playoff time, the Lakers might have the edge. They have more experience and star power that in the playoffs, the Lakers could over-top the Clippers. The series could very well go either way, but the Lakers in a playoff series should have the edge right now.