The crazy 2019 NBA offseason gave birth to new powerhouse teams in the league, including the two NBA teams based in Hollywood – the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers. After a series of transactions, the Lakers and the Clippers have succeeded to build a roster that can legitimately contend for the NBA championship title in the 2019-20 NBA season. Despite failing to secure a deal before the February NBA trade deadline, the Lakers still managed to pair LeBron James with Anthony Davis, while the Clippers signed Kawhi Leonard in the 2019 NBA free agency and acquired Paul George in a blockbuster deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
After the Golden State Warriors failed to bring Kevin Durant back this summer, the Lakers and the Clippers are now emerging as the top favorites to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals next season. It’s definitely not a surprise since both NBA teams have the most talented rosters in the league. However, according to Ethan Strauss of The Athletic, as quoted by Bleacher Report, several league executives believe that there is a “big gap” between the title chances of the two Los Angeles teams and most of them picked the Clippers over the Lakers to bring home the Larry O’Brien Trophy in the 2019-20 NBA season.
“In league circles, Lakers skepticism has burbled about for some time, before and after Anthony Davis awkwardly made his way to Los Angeles. Questions of fit and chemistry persist, and many are noting just how many games LeBron James has played up to this point. Like the Golden State Warriors, the Lakers are also lacking in perimeter defense, in a league where it seems to matter more than ever. Much as you would expect some ‘It’s LeBron’ faith, that faith appears to be wavering after the last disastrous season. Even flanked with Davis, no one I spoke with believes LeBron and the Lakers are better than the upstart Clips.”
Strauss cited LeBron James’ deteriorating performance as one of the major reasons why league executives think that the Clippers have a higher chance of winning the 2020 NBA championship title than the Lakers. While Clippers superstars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are currently in their prime, LeBron James is already 34, and there is a big question regarding how long he can remain as a dominant force in the NBA.
Also, Bleacher Report’s Timothy Rapp believes that the Clippers have the superior supporting cast and the better coach. While Lakers Head Coach Frank Vogel only made five postseason appearances in his coaching career, Clippers Head Coach Doc Rivers carried his team to the playoffs 15 times, including two trips to the NBA Finals and winning an NBA championship title with the Boston Celtics in 2008.