The Lakers and the Clippers have always been like neighbors who somewhat avoid each other because there has never been really much of a threat of a title chase by the Clippers, in the 34 year history. Call it the little brother, or the uncoordinated cousin. This is all changing now.
With Anthony Davis joining LeBron and Kawhi Leonard pairing up with Paul George, the Lakers and Clippers are finally on a collision course. Here’s how they match up:
LAL: Rajon Rondo, Danny Green, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins
LAC: Patrick Beverley, Landry Shamet, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Ivica Zubac
LAL: Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, JaVale McGee, Quinn Cook, Alex Caruso
LAC: Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, Maurice Harkless, Jerome Robinson, Mfiondu Kabengele
LAL: Jared Dudley, Troy Daniels
LAC: Rodney McGruder, Terance Mann
LAL: We have to go back only one season (2017-18) to get a rough idea of how Cousins, Davis, and Rondo mesh together offensively. In 497 minutes together for the Pelicans, the trio posted a 108.4 offensive rating (for context, New Orleans was 12th in the league with an offensive rating of 108.5 that season). Of course, the fourth and fifth guy on the court matter a little bit, especially when one of them is going to be LeBron James instead of Solomon Hill. Davis and James will bully their way to easy baskets. New head coach Frank Vogel has shown the ability to create driving gaps with five-out spacing, even when he has bigger personnel on the floor. Kyle Kuzma can carry the scoring load for the second unit, and Cousins scored 23 points per 36 minutes at less than full strength on a loaded Warriors team. No team offers more physically imposing individual matchups than the Lakers, but to borrow a quote from Villanova coach Jay Wright, spacing is offense and offense is spacing. Can the Lakers create enough of it to leverage their dominance at the rim?