Before the Los Angeles Lakers had pulled the trigger on the blockbuster trades to bring in Steve Nash and Dwight Howard, the Los Angeles Clippers had made considerable upgrades across the board and began receiving recognition for potentially having the best bench in the NBA heading into next season.
With the additions of Jamal Crawford, Lamar Odom, Grant Hill, Matt Barnes and the re-signing of Chauncey Billups, the Clippers will be a force to be reckoned with next season as they may have the deepest bench in the league.
Much like the Lakers, many of their players are over 30 and arguably on the downside of their careers. Despite that being the case, this team may be able to do just enough in order to secure another high seed in the Western Conference and possibly give the crosscourt rivals a run for their money in the Pacific division.
All-Star forward Blake Griffin talked about the Lakers’ recent moves and the stiff competition in the West with Darnell Mayberry of NewsOK.com:
“I think there’s a lot of tough teams in the Western Conference. There’s one right here (in Oklahoma City) that the Lakers have to get over,” Griffin said. “The Spurs have been a good team for the past 500 years. And I think we’re preparing for that. So that’s kind of what you expect people to do. You expect them to hand out the trophy in the middle of the summer. So we’re not worried about that. We’re not worried about just the Lakers.”
With the Oklahoma City Thunder still intact, the Clippers making moves and San Antonio Spurs always a threat, the West will be a dogfight once again next season.
Even though the matchups with the defending Western Conference champions will be highly anticipated and a great test for the revamped roster of the Lakers, the battle for Los Angeles will definitely be some of the most entertaining basketball of the season, and perhaps four of the toughest games of the year for Kobe Bryant and company.
It’s no secret that there’s no love lost between the Lakers and Clippers with things getting heated and very physical over the last two years. The failed Chris Paul trade and all the hype the Clippers received last season didn’t help as it fueled the fire for the Lakers heading into each of the four matchups during the regular season.
The moves both teams made over the off-season have made the Los Angeles rivalry that much more intriguing moving forward. The Lakers are favored to come out on top in the Pacific division and for good reason, but the Clippers will still be putting up a fight and shooting for a division title, as well as a high seed in the West.
This week’s edition of Locker Room Talk discusses who defenses will double-team this season.