The Clippers are the Team to beat in the West

The Clippers trade for Paul George, for an insane amount of picks, and signing Kawhi Leonard make them the team to beat in the west. The biggest reason is DEFENSE. Both of these players are ALL-NBA defenders and have been in the defensive player of the year running every single year. The duo might be the best two-way players in the NBA. Add that to Doc Rivers and a deeper roster than what is on the Lakers or Golden State, and you get potentially the best team in the west.

For the Lakers, they have LeBron, Anthony Davis, and the land of misfit toys. Does anyone expect anything from Boogie Cousins right now? Are Kyle Kuzma or Danny Green going to carry the offensive load? If AD or LBJ go down the Lakers are in trouble. 

Golden State? They lost Kevin Durant to New Jersey and Klay Thompson to an ACL injury. Who else in the west can challenge them? Utah? Houston? Blazers? Anything can happen, possibly.

Shifting Landscape

Antonio Davis’s move to LA shifted the landscape of the NBA to the Lakers for about 10 seconds. The problem with the Lakers choice to go all-in on and wait out Kawhi, is that talented role players went off the board. Those guys value was undersold and after Kawhi chose the Clippers they were needed for the Lakers. Where was the back-up plan?

Golden State landed D’Angelo Russell to offset the loss of Klay. How do you offset KD? Utah picked up Mike Conley to pair with Donovan Mitchell. A great trade, but better than Kawhi and George? Houston dipped in the Oklahoma City well again to pair Russell Westbrook and James Harden. Who’s the alpha? The Blazers brought in Hassan Whiteside. Really?

The Front Office and Coach

courtesy of AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Kawhi chose the Clippers because of a stable front office and coaching situation. This is compared to the circus that has been going on in Lakerland since 2013. When one sits down and looks at what each team offered, it was always going to be Toronto or the Clippers. The roster beyond LBJ and AD is terrible and wasn’t getting better adding Kawhi. Did Jeannie Buss learn anything from the LaMarcus Aldridge debacle? Paul George staying in OKC without even taking a meeting?

The Clippers have Doc Rivers and the Lakers… have Frank Vogel. Toronto has Masai Ujiri; conversely, the Lakers have… Rob Pelinka. They have talented bench players you have the island of misfit toys. Combine all that, and one has to wonder how the Lakers thought they had a legitimate chance to land Kawhi.

Final Thoughts

Finally, the Clippers have a team with a championship-caliber coach, two of the 10-15 best players in the NBA, and a talented group of bench players. In Toronto, it was Kawhi and a talented supporting cast and he won a ring. Now in LA, he has a similarly talented group and Paul George. They are ready to dethrone the Warriors and blow past King James and his court in the upcoming 2019-2020 season. In the end, how can one not call the Clippers the team to beat in the west?

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