The Los Angeles Lakers center vs. the Los Angeles Clippers center
The Los Angeles Lakers closing Center:
- Anthony Davis
The Los Angeles Clippers closing center:
- Serge Ibaka
In a vacuum, Anthony Davis is a much better player than Serge Ibaka. Still, just like the matchup between Dennis Schroder and Paul George is closer than most people think, this contest isn’t a complete blowout either.
Yes, Anthony Davis is better in every facet of the game than Serge Ibaka. AD is probably the best defender in the NBA. Simultaneously, Serge Ibaka is a mediocre defender. He gets a lot of recognition for his blocks but doesn’t play great positional D.
AD showed throughout the playoffs he’s one of the best multi-level offensive players in the association. He’s a three-point threat, midrange phenome, and a load on the block. Serge Ibaka gets most of his points from beyond the arc and from putbacks.
During the playoffs, you could see that tiny voice inside of AD’s brain—the one whispering, “You’re a great regular season player, but you can’t get it done in the playoffs”—melting away. As Davis continued to dominate every player who came before him throughout the 2020 postseason, his confidence grew.
Confidence is crucial in the NBA, and after leading the Lakers to a title, Anthony Davis is brimming with self-assurance. He’s the odds on favorite to win the 2021 MVP award.
Serge Ibaka is nowhere near the player Anthony Davis is, but he fills a huge need for the Clippers. LA’s other team doesn’t have an elite playmaker in their closing lineup, so they need to spread the floor as much as possible for Kawhi Leonard. They have to give him the space he needs to work out of isolation sets and make easy passes in space.
Serge Ibaka shot 39 percent from deep last season off of more than three attempts per game. He’s an elite floor spreading center who should help the Clippers offense flow better even if they don’t pick up a pass-first guard before the 2021 trade deadline.
Anthony Davis is easily the best center in the NBA. No opposing big man in the NBA would win this matchup, especially sixth man, Serge Ibaka. However, Ibaka should help the Clippers crunch time offensive woes by spreading the floor for Kawhi Leonard.