With the NFL Season starting up today, most basketball fans are thinking about basketball season starting up here pretty soon too. Before it comes though, I wanted to prep you on what could be the greatest rivalry in the history of sports: The Battle For L.A.
I’m going to talk about the pieces of this matchup that other analysts are not talking about so much…
First off, I think that Paul George will adapt and become more of a defensive-minded player on the Clippers this season. When the clock is running out, Kawhi is very similar to Jordan where he will play ISO (isolation) basketball and hopefully get the open look. This is great except for the fact that there will be less opportunities for George to score and therefore will have to adapt his game some. Paul George is no stranger to playing hardcore defense — but if he wants to remain the superstar that we know and love, he will have to adjust his game to a more defensively-oriented style of play.
Also, LeBron James and Paul George used to be some serious rivals in the NBA Western Conference, when James played for the Heat/Cavaliers and George played for the Pacers. Often times, they seemed to play each other later in the playoffs, so the tension was pretty tight around both teams at those times. I really hope that this rivalry between the two carries on, because now they will both be playing in the same city, except on different teams.
Secondly, no one is talking about how the Lakers have the opportunity to create a serious death lineup that they would potentially create a “No Fly Zone,” if you will. In this lineup I would have LeBron James at Point Guard, Kyle Kuzma at Shooting Guard, Anthony Davis at Small Forward, Dwight Howard at Power Forward, and finally Javale McGee at Center. I know it would be a bit of a stretch to put A.D. at the Small forward position, but I think that he would certainly be able to play it well! I mean, the man was 33% from the three-point line and was around 55% shooting regular field goals last season for the Pelicans (Basketball Reference). This lineup would crush anything in its path, the only downside would be that it could only be used in last-minute, game-winning situations because the Lakers want at least half of these guys fresh at a time so that they can divide the players up evenly to separate skill and spread the wealth. That way they aren’t blown out of the water when the subs come in.
Most of the spotlight in the matchups of these two teams will focus on the two dynamic duos battling each other (LeBron and A.D. vs. Kawhi and Paul George). Other essential players like Patrick Beverley (excellent defender) on the Clippers, or Danny Green (fantastic shooter) on the Lakers might not receive the credit they deserve.
I believe that Patrick Beverley doesn’t get the spotlight that he deserves because he is an amazing defender. Sometimes in basketball, the game goes beyond stats — and in this case Beverley (left) might not seem the best in the books, but on the court he’s a beast! So watch him this season, you may be surprised at how many plays he affects regardless of his stats…
This will be one of the funnest rivalries to watch because both teams play at the same venue, yet they are totally different franchises. Watching the King and the Brow play against Kawhi and P.G.13 will be a great competition to watch, but the success will most-likely fall on the backs of those whose names aren’t brought up as much like Patrick Beverley and Danny Green.
By Camiloarenivar – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=75796956