Lakers vs Clippers – Who Will Be the Kings of LA?
After what can only be described as the most active offseason in professional sports history, the 2020 NBA season is sure to be one of the most exciting ever. Several superstars switched teams and both of last year’s finals teams, the Raptors and the Warriors, lost their best player. That makes this year as wide open as I can ever remember.
The two teams that stick out as having improved the most are the Los Angeles Clippers and their hometown rivals, the Lakers. In this article, we will take a look at how these two teams matchup and speculate whether or not they will play each other on Christmas Day. The first thing we are going to look at is a quick review of all the changes that both of these teams made this offseason. Let’s get started!
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers made a huge splash when they made the move to bring in superstar, Anthony Davis, from the New Orleans Pelicans. The move had been rumored for months, and the Lakers tried to bring in Davis during the regular season but weren’t able to get a deal done. The Los Angeles Lakers were desperate to push the deal through, and in my opinion, overpaid for Davis.
The package they sent to New Orleans included Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and a bunch of future draft picks. But in typical Lebron James fashion, he has been able to use his influence as the reigning best player in the world and talked several free agents into signing with the Lakers at a reasonable price to fill out what looks like a championship-level roster.
DeMarcus Cousins, Danny Green, and Rajon Rondo all signed with LA, and they also resigned guys like Kyle Kuzma and JaVale McGee. This team will have size, experience, and athleticism and assuming they can stay healthy, should end up being a top-four seed in the Western Conference.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers shocked the world by acquiring reigning NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard in free agency. We all knew that Kawhi wanted to go home, he was born and raised in Southern California and played his college ball at San Diego State, but everyone assumed that meant he was going to sign with the Lakers, not the Clippers.
And if that wasn’t enough, the Clippers also brought in Paul George from the Oklahoma City Thunder to build one of the best one-two combos in the league. The move to acquire George was a costly one, and they bankrupt their future to do it. LA sent as many draft picks to OKC as they are legally allowed to do, per the collective bargaining agreement, including a whopping five first-round draft picks.
The rest of the starting five to go around George and Leonard is made up of guys like Patrick Beverley, Landry Shamet, and Montrezl Harrell. If you’ll notice, this team seems to be built on defense as George and Kawhi are both all-NBA level defenders, and the rest of the guys are no slouches on D either. This is undoubtedly the most talented team they have ever had in Lob City.
Who Wins the Season Series?
This is a very interesting question. These teams share a building, and both play in the Western Conference, and they will play several games head to head during the 2020 NBA regular season. So, who gets the best of that season series? Let’s take a look at the odds below from BetOnline:
- Clippers: +150
- Lakers: +225
- Tie: +100
As you can see, the experts expect a season split, with a tie paying just +100. In most season series, a tie is a reasonable expectation, as home teams defend their home courts well. But in this series, there isn’t much of a home-court advantage as they share a building. There is some home court advantage as the season ticket holders of each team will fill the Staples Center differently depending on which team is “home” that night, thus putting the crowd in that team’s favor, but it is the smallest home court advantage in the league, to say the least.
So, I am going to throw out the tie and take a stand on a side. When you are making a bet, you need to make sure that the price is evaluated. It isn’t always who you think will win, but who can win and at what price. But once again, this scenario is unique, as both sides pay a very similar price. If you think the Clippers are the side to back, the 75-cent premium on the Lakers shouldn’t be enough to sway your action.
So, who wins? I like the Clippers. Why? Defense. This might be the best perimeter defensive team I have ever seen. Kawhi and George are both the elite of the elite on D, and Patrick Beverley has proven to be quite disruptive on the defensive side of the ball as well. Every offense, no matter how good, has bad shooting nights. Great defense never takes a night off.
Lebron is old, Rondo is old, Jared Dudley is old, and Cousins can’t stay healthy. The Lakers are going to have to find ways to stay fresh during the regular season with a team that has several veteran players. While on the flipside, the Clippers have a team chalked full of young guys with lots of energy. I’m not trying to imply that the Lakers won’t be able to get up and be motivated when they play the Clippers, but in a series that is so evenly matched, that is the difference I see coming into play.
Will They Play on Christmas?
The NBA has done a great job of establishing Christmas Day as the premier day of the regular season. Much like the NFL has done with Thanksgiving, watching some great NBA action has quickly become a Christmas holiday tradition for many fans. And the NBA does a great job of scheduling huge games on Christmas to attract as much attention as possible. So, will these teams play each other on Christmas? Let’s check out the odds below from BetOnline:
- Yes: -400
- No: +250
This one is easy. Of course they are going to play on Christmas! The NBA does an excellent job of making sure the Christmas Day schedule gives the fans what they want, and what more could fans want than the Lakers versus the Clippers in primetime? Had Kawhi not flirted with going to the Lakers, then maybe, just maybe, I could listen to a case that there is a better Christmas Day matchup than Clips versus Lakers.
But with how the entire saga unfolded, you can guarantee that there will be bad blood between these two teams. Throw in the fact that they play in the same city, on the same court, and fight for the same fans, it is a lock that we see these teams across from each other on Christmas Day when the schedules are released.
If the 2020 regular season lives up to even half of the hype that this offseason has, we are all in for a treat next year. The NBA is wide open, with nearly a dozen teams having a real shot at taking home the title. Thanks for reading, and make sure to be on the lookout for all of our NBA coverage as the season approaches, where we give you all of the sharp betting advice you need to navigate the NBA season!