With the Feb. 6 trade deadline nearing, it has become apparent the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers have established themselves as the clear-cut best teams in the Western Conference.
Both teams generated plenty of hype with their influx of All-Star power during the 2019 NBA offseason and have managed to follow through by fitting the billing as bonafide championship contenders leading up to the 2020 NBA All-Star break. Although the Lakers currently own the No. 1 seed in the West, the Clippers have managed to get the better of them in their first two meetings while also securing the No. 2 spot.
Despite their success, each team still has a few notable voids on their rosters they would like to address before the deadline. While the Lakers hope to acquire another playmaker to help spark the offense, it seems their crosstown rivals are concerned about having to match their physical presence inside.
According to Marc stein of the New York Times, the Clippers reportedly are worried about how they stack up against the team’s length and muscle in the frontcourt:
Doesn't guarantee that they'll make a deal, of course, but the Clippers are said to be concerned about their lack of muscle up front compared to the Lakers' length as well as the ongoing health issues Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are battling
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 23, 2020
It is easy to see why the Clippers may be feeling a bit uneasy about the state of their frontcourt and how they compare to the one the Lakers boast. Not only are there concerns regarding their current personnel that is headed by Montrezl Harrell and Ivica Zubac, but the lack of muscle down low has undoubtedly been magnified by the uncertain health of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George this season.
Meanwhile, the performance from the Lakers frontcourt has been one of the biggest storylines following the arrival of Anthony Davis. Javale McGee has done a tremendous job of taking the pressure off Davis down low as the starting center and Dwight Howard continues to provide this team with plenty of bang for their buck with his resurgence thus far.
Having a trio of shot-blockers that are also capable of finishing in the paint has clearly paid huge dividends for the Lakers on both ends of the four. That gap could grow much larger if DeMarcus Cousins is able to make his return in the playoffs without the Clippers taking any precautions at the trade deadline.