Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers are more similar than you think

(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The gap between the Los Angeles Lakers and the LA Clippers isn’t as big as some would lead you to believe.

At the beginning of the offseason when the Anthony Davis trade went down, there was a league-wide assumption that the Los Angeles Lakers were now the dominant team in the NBA going forward.

That sentiment was multiplied once the rumors of Kawhi Leonard joining them in free agency started to ramp up.

But, as we all know, Kawhi Leonard ended up choosing to take his talents to the B-Team of Los Angeles known as the Clippers, choosing to bring that guy, Paul George, who used to play for the Oklahoma City Thunder with him.

Since then, there has been this notion that the gap between the Lakers and the Clippers is so astronomically wide that you could fit the Grand Canyon between it.

Honestly, once the initial news of Kawhi and the other guy joining forces in Los Angeles went down initially I was hesitant to put the Lakers above them. But even with the injury to DeMarcus Cousins, I see two teams that are very similar in a lot of ways.

Let’s start with the dynamic duos for both teams.

Kawhi and the other guy form one of the best two-way tandems that we have seen in the game since probably Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. Their ability to score the basketball as well as defend at an elite level is something that is unmatched in the league for the most part.

However, LeBron James and Anthony Davis are no slouches either. Anthony Davis is just as great of a two-way player as Kawhi Leonard is. LeBron James‘ ability to be a playmaker as well as his ability to make others around him better make up for his defensive lapses which I honestly believe he will address this season playing under Frank Vogel.

The verdict? Both duos are evenly matched.

Now assuming Frank Vogel goes with Avery Bradley at the point guard position, he would be that bulldog 3-and-D point guard that would not only help LeBron by spacing the floor but would help in establishing the Lakers defensive presence.

Is it just me or does that sound a lot like Patrick Beverley? Patrick Beverley is your prototypical 3-and-D point guard who is a monster defensively and can knock down the 3-point shot when needed. Bradley and Beverly couldn’t be more equal.

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The only difference is that Patrick Beverley is more outward and bodacious with his defensive presence and antics on the court. But that doesn’t make him any better of a defender or overall player than Avery Bradley.

Now we get to the final spots of the starting lineups. That being “supposedly”,  Montrezl Harrell and Ivica Zubac against Danny Green and JaVale McGee.

Harrell is a good player to have as he is sort of your typical energy guy who can come in and be a physical presence, doing little things like put back dunks and grabbing rebounds. But let’s not forget that Harrel was a role player for the majority of his career who this season will most likely get his first taste of meaningful starting minutes.

And even though Zubac just got a sizeable contract, he has still yet to prove that he can be a consistent contributor as a starting-caliber center in this league.

Compare that to Danny Green, who last season, was 2nd in the NBA in 3-point percentage and is fresh off of winning his 2nd NBA championship. Also JaVale McGee, who has proven himself as a starting-caliber center who was 5th in the league in blocks per game who is also a two-time NBA champion.

If you are comparing the potential starting lineups for both teams there is not that big of a gap between the two teams.

In terms of the bench, for the Clippers, you would look at a guy like Lou Williams who is a multiple 6th Man of the Year award winner who can come into a game and literally just get you buckets whenever you need them.

The Lakers have a guy like that and his name is Kyle Kuzma.

It can be argued that Kuzma is better in some ways seeing that he is taller than Lou Williams and has somewhat of a more versatile offensive repertoire, being able to not only stretch the floor but also drive to the basket, post up, shoot the hook shot and should be a better defender this season.

Other than those guys, the rest of these two teams are made up of interchangeable pieces that ultimately won’t make that huge of a difference in terms of one being better than the other.

People wanted to be prisoners of the moment whenever the Clippers acquired Kawhi, but let’s be realistic here.

The Lakers and the Clippers are two evenly matched teams and honestly should be the two favorites to meet up in the Western Conference Finals.

Don’t let people fool you, the Clippers are not definitively better than the Lakers but we live in a world where for some reason people try to push narratives so hard that they are willing to ignore the facts in order to make their arguments valid.

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The Lakers and Clippers will be an excellent storyline this upcoming season and It will be exciting to see of everyone’s assumptions about the Clippers greatness comes to fruition.