The 2019 NBA offseason was one of the wildest in league history with regard to player movement and because of it, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the Los Angeles Lakers are near championship favorites, right alongside Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and the Los Angeles Clippers.
Now, with the Lakers and Clippers both being contenders, the media and fans alike have been clamoring for a manufactured rivalry between the Staples Center co-tenants. It’s because of this that players — both former and current — have been asked to give their two cents on the rivalry with the Clippers getting the early edge in the minds of experts.
Durant was just the latest to be asked about which team he thinks is the better in Los Angeles. And while Durant raved about how fun a potential Western Conference Finals matchup would be, he stated the Clippers would have the advantage, via Hot 97’s Ebro in the Morning:
The Clippers… Yeah, I mean that’s going to be a tough series if they do play. Man, that’ll be a crazy series if those two play in the Conference Finals. It would be so much fun. I like the Clippers right now because I’m only looking at it on paper, I mean they got more talent on the team, but you never know throughout the season.”
It seems the prevailing opinion is that the Clippers are a superior team to the Lakers on paper. However, this doubt from the fans at large did not stop them from putting on a show in their first preseason game against the Golden State Warriors nor has it put a damper on anything they’re trying to build.
Regardless of the popular opinion, the Lakers are going to be ready to play their game. They have a veteran-filled roster that knows to block things like this out and simply be who they are as a team. As they figure that out, they’ll likely receive a ton of doubt and criticism from outside voices.
At the end of the day, Durant still believed that anything could happen between now and then.
This means if the two teams were to meet in the 2020 NBA playoffs, it’s possible the Lakers will look like an infinitely stronger team by then — or it means the Clippers will look like the team to beat. Either way, this rivalry could gear up what is already one of the NBA’s most intriguing seasons ever.