Los Angeles Lakers Will Rise While The Clippers Fall
Los Angeles Lakers Will Eclipse The Clippers
The young prospects of the Lakers promise to return Showtime back to the Staples Center, lead by Lonzo Ball - Magic Johnson’s first draft pick as president of basketball operations.
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Point God No Longer A Clipper
“It was time for a change,” Chris Paul said when asked how he informed Doc Rivers about his trade request. The Los Angeles Clippers just finished another disappointing season, bounced from the playoffs in the first round by an upstart Utah Jazz squad. Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan didn’t even get a chance to be annihilated by the Golden State Warriors.
A feared regular season team at their peak, the Clippers were consistently among the league leaders in net rating. This franchise finished sixth or better in net rating since the 2012-13 season, as per Basketball Reference. The Clips finished second to the San Antonio Spurs in 2013-14, and runners-up to the Warriors the next year, averaging 7.39 during these campaigns.
Turns out the NBA playoffs were the kryptonite of the Clippers. Despite fielding a trio of all-star, all-NBA players in Paul, Griffin, and Jordan – along with sharpshooters J.J. Reddick and Jamal Crawford – Los Angeles was unable to advance past the second round.
The dismay was compounded by the fact that the association considered the Clippers a top threat to western conference winners like the Spurs and Warriors.
A litany of injuries played a significant role in destroying the hopes and dreams of the Clippers, arriving to decimate the lineup just as the postseason arrived. This exposed a lack of depth in the rotation, preventing the team from advancing deep into the playoffs. Chris Paul’s series winning shot over Tim Duncan stands as the best memory for fans, and Point God now plays for the Houston Rockets with James Harden – maybe Carmelo Anthony too.
As such, the future of the Clippers is questionable at best, even with Griffin and Jordan left behind.
Lakers Tanking Into Potential Greatness
During the Clippers brief flirtation with relevance, the Lakers were stuck in neutral as Kobe enjoyed a two-year farewell tour of the NBA. His spectacular last game was a microcosm of his final years with the franchise, hoisting 50 shots to finish his career with 60 points. After Kobe’s last hurrah, the Lakers could play their youngsters more frequently, giving them a chance to ascertain the future.
Last season, Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle continued to develop, while Brandon Ingram showed flashes of his potential to develop into a positionless player. During the offseason, Ingram has proven to be one of the hardest working athletes on the team, dedicated to offseason workouts with Kobe. During his brief stint in the D-League this summer, Ingram scored 26 points and displayed a more vocal style of on-court leadership.
Of course, the prize jewel of the Lakers lottery pick horde is Lonzo Ball, who earned MVP honors during the 2017 Summer League. He tantalized Lakers nation with a pair of triple doubles, including a mixtape worth of amazing passes. Turns out that Kyle Kuzma – a late first-round pick – could also be a keeper. He averaged 19.8 points per game in the summer league, including a tidy 39.4% from three on 6.6 attempts per game. The power forward earned MVP nod for the championship game, where he earned a 30-point, 10-rebound double-double.
Lakers Will Soon Dominate The Clippers Again
The departure of Paul and the arrival of a slew of young, talented Laker lottery picks signal opposite directions for the two Los Angeles NBA franchises. After a brief window of opportunity, the Clippers will fade into the background while the Lakers will witness the return of showtime basketball – including a potential visit from LeBron James.
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