The Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers both revamped their rosters during the offseason. Which team has the better closing unit?
Throughout the 2020 season, Frank Vogel was a defensive wizard on the sidelines for the Purple and Gold. Still, he also excelled in the way he managed the Los Angeles Lakers during crunchtime situations. Vogel didn’t stubbornly rely on one closing unit like many of his contemporaries. Instead, he was fluid with his fourth quarter lineups.
Thus, we can’t definitively say which five Lakers players will close games for the Purple and Gold. However, we can choose the best overall five-man lineup at Frank Vogel’s disposal, the one he should use against the Clippers.
The Lakers probable closing unit:
- PG: Dennis Schröder
- SG: Alex Caruso
- SF: LeBron James
- PF: Montrezl Harrell
- C: Anthony Davis
The only question mark in this closing lineup is Alex Caruso over Kentavious Caldwell-Pope at the shooting guard position. KCP recently signed a three-year, $40 million deal with the Lakers, so perhaps you think he’ll close more games than Alex Caruso.
You could be right, but he’s not capable of slowing down high scoring wings like CJ McCollum, James Harden, Paul George, or Donovan Mitchell, to name a few. Frank Vogel will likely swap KCP’s better outside stroke for Caruso’s stopping power.
The Clippers are easier to read. Tyronn Lue will almost always close with this five-man lineup:
- PG: Patrick Beverly
- SG: Paul George
- SF: Kawhi Leonard
- PF: Marcus Morris
- C: Serge Ibaka
Next, we’ll compare the Lakers’ closing five versus the Clippers.