The Los Angeles Lakers are a storied franchise who have some of the all-time greats headlining their rosters, while the Los Angeles Clippers is a franchise with no real playoff success and many years of being mediocre. For the first time, the Clippers and the Lakers are both contenders for the Larry O’Brien trophy. This year there will be a battle at the Staples Center, where both teams play, to see who the superior team is in L.A.
In order to compare these two powerhouses, you have to look at each team’s roster. Also, you can’t only compare starting fives because you also have to look at the depth of their bench. While the Lakers have veterans like Rajon Rondo and JaVale McGee leading their second squad, but the Lakers also have huge holes in their backup small and power forward. The Clippers have the advantage when it comes to the bench simply due to the fact that they have an all-star caliber player coming off their bench in Lou Williams. Lou Williams is also a three-time sixth man of the year so he has experience leading a bench squad.
When looking at the backcourt for each team I would have to give the edge to the Lakers, but only a slight edge. When comparing point guards, the point guard for the Lakers is LeBron James and the Clippers have Patrick Beverley. Now, this is very easy to tell who has the advantage here, Lebron has been a top 5 player in the league for the past 10 years and while Beverly is a good player he just doesn’t come close to Lebron. Moving to shooting guard, the Clippers have Paul George and the Lakers have Danny Green. This is similar to Lebron and Beverley where these two guys skill levels are so far apart that it isn’t a competition. George just came off an MVP finalist season and Danny Green just became an NBA Finals champion. The reason I give the edge to the Lakers is that Lebron is such a game-changer that it’s almost impossible to ignore his case even in his age for the best player in the league.
The backcourt for both of these teams are very talented, but once again a slight edge should be given to the Lakers. The Clippers have Kawhi Leonard at Small Forward and the Lakers have Kyle Kuzma. Kyle Kuzma is a great young talent with a very bright future, but he is not as good as Leonard. Leonard just came off a season where he led a Toronto team to an NBA Finals against one of the greatest teams in NBA history and became the Finals MVP for the second time in his career. The Power Forward for the Lakers is Anthony Davis and the Clippers have Montrezl Harrell. Anthony Davis has been the best power forward in the league for a while now and Harrell just came off a sixth man of the year finalist. Once again this a pretty obvious decision with Anthony Davis being the better player. Now comparing the starting centers for each of these teams is where it starts getting kind of close. The starting center for the Lakers is Dwight Howard, since DeMarcus Cousins is injured, and the Clippers have Ivica Zubac. These two guys are actually kind of opposites in the sense that Zubac is on the track of becoming a very good center, while Dwight Howard is on the downswing of his career. At this point in Dwight’s career, he is better than Zubac, but in two years the opinion may change.
When it comes down to a seven-game series, I would give it to the Clippers, not only because ai think they have a better team, but they also have a better head coach. Doc Rivers is a better coach in comparison to Frank Vogel because Doc has championship experience with his former Celtic teams and has been with this Clippers for the last six years, while Vogel has been bouncing from team to team. If it does come down to a playoff matchup between the Clippers and Laker for the support of the city of Los Angeles, the honor would be given to the Clippers.