The relationship between the Clippers and the Lakers is more like roommates than opponents. They share the same roof, and they have been trying to avoid head-on confrontations as much as possible. In their 34 seasons in Los Angeles, the Clippers and Lakers have never been in the top four in the Western Conference at the same time, and have never faced each other in the playoffs. However, all of this may change soon.
With Anthony Davis joined LeBron -James' team, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George successfully teamed up, the Lakers and Clippers are finally going to be tough. Let's take a look at their counterpoint first.
Projected starting lineup
Lakers: Rajon Rondo, Danny-Green, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins
The Clippers: Patrick Beverley, Landry Shamet, Paul George , Kawhi Leonard, Ivica Zubac
Lakers: Kyle Kuzma, Kentavihouse-Cadwell-Pop, JaVale McGee, Quinn Cook, Alek Caruso
The Clippers: Luis Williams, Montres Harrell, Maurice Harkless, Jerome Robinson, Mufiandu Capengelli
Lakers: Jared Dudley, Troy-Daniels
The Clippers: Rodney McGruder, Terrence Mann
The Lakers: We must go back one season (2017-18 season) before we can get a general understanding of Cousins and Davis How well and Rondo blend in offensively. In the 497 minutes they played for the Pelicans, the trio’s offensive efficiency was 108.4 (For reference, the Pelicans ranked 12th in the league with 108.5 offensive efficiency that season.). Of course, the other two players on the court are also very important, especially when one of them will be replaced by LeBron James for Solomon Hill. Davis and James will use their way to getMinute.
The new head coach Frank Vogel has proven Use five outside players to open up the ability to break through. Kyle Kuzma can take on the scoring task of the second team, and Cousins can score 23 points per 36 minutes. No team can have a physical advantage in individual matchups than the Lakers, but in the words of Villanova coach Jay Wright, opening space is offense, and offense means opening space. Can the Lakers create enough space to fully demonstrate their dominance at the basket?
The Clippers: Doug Rivers's combat system may not be known for offense, but in his six seasons coaching the Clippers, despite the differences in talent level Great, the Clippers’ offensive efficiency has never fallen out of the league’s top 10. George (second in the league in points per game last season) and Leonard (sixth in points per game in the league) are both accustomed to picking up the burden on offense. , And the other three role players in the starting lineup are not good at creating shooting opportunities, so there is no need to make too many changes.
However, unlike other teams with the two giants, due to the fact that Louis Williams and his pick-and-roll partner Montres Harrell’s Exists, the Clippers do notTheir stars must take too much playing time. Compared with the Lakers, the Clippers' weak advantage lies in the ability to create more dribble breakthroughs through the small ball lineup and provide more help.
The Lakers: The Lakers ranked 29th in the league in three-pointers last season. Next season, the Lakers will have more players with career three-pointers less than 35%. (Davis, Cousins, Rondo, Kuzma, Pope, McGee) play more minutes on the court. Although some new players at the end of the lineup (Cook, Daniels and Dudley) can open up the space, it is not known how much playing time they can get.
Danny Green is a 3D player the Lakers desperately need, it depends Which version of Green they will have. Was it Green who made 45% of three-pointers in Toronto last season, or the one who made less than 38% of three-pointers in San Antonio for three consecutive seasons? Leonard only made a decision on July 6 to make the choices left in the free agency market very leisurely, but the Lakers failed to go all out to solve the biggest weakness exposed last season.
Clippers: The Clippers rank second in the NBA in three-point field goal percentage (38.8%), but they are a team that doesn't try three-pointers (28th in three-pointers). George will help in this regard, because he averaged close to 10 three-pointers per game for the Thunder last season, and as long as he wants to shoot three-pointers, he can find a chance. Coupled with Shamet (45% of the Clippers' three-pointers) and Patrick Beverley (close to 40% of the past two seasons) without the ball, the Clippers will force opponents to make The dilemma is to give up an open three-pointer or directly confront the two most dangerous offensive killers in the league. At this point, the gap between the two teams is obvious.
Lakers: When Davis is stimulated, his long arms allow him to protect the basket well, but he prefers to chase the cap from the weak side The opponent, instead of jumping head-on to intercept the opponent’s shot. Cousins’ problem is the opposite: he will stand in front of the opponent, but since his Achilles tendon tore, he can no longer interfere or touch in the same way Go to shooters outside his area.
According to statistics, before Cousins was injured, the 2017-18 Pelicans limited their opponents' field goal percentage within four feet of the basket to 21st in the league. The savior of the Lakers may be JaVale McGee. Last season, he ranked 6th in the league in field goal percentage (at least 50 games) with confrontation at the rim, while his opponent’s field goal percentage was only 52%. . For this reason, McGee may eventually be more suitable as a starter next to DavisPlay ball.
The Clippers: I have to say, the Clippers Last season's defensive efficiency was not high, but after they got Zubac from the Lakers on the trade deadline, they ranked 9th in field goal percentage from the basket. Only the Pacers big man Miles Turner makes defensive shots more frequently than Zubac. But because Harrell can contribute so much offensively, it is difficult to say how long he can stay on the court. Harrell's height limits his ability to defend shots, but he has three of the league's best perimeter defenders (Beverly, Leonard, George) in front of him. We can't help asking, if no one can get to the basket, do you still need someone to protect the basket?
Lakers Team: With the departure of Luke Wharton and Lonzo Ball, the Lakers may not pursue the fast break in the transition, but they will not give up completely. Davis used to play fast-paced, turning rebounds into personal breakthroughs. The breakthroughs of James and Davis like tigers going down the mountain will be the game scene fans most hope to see. The Lakers played their best game last season when James desperately went to the basket. The arrival of Green will also have a huge impact on this setting. The Lakers may linger at the league average in terms of game rhythm, but their efficiency should be a significant improvement compared to last season., And there will be more successful offenses when the defense is not in place or piled up in the penalty area.
The Clippers: All signs show the Clippers Will play fast. A smaller lineup (using Harrell as a center) will be more able to ignite the court. Both George and Leonard can steal the ball and play fast breaks. Rivers has also begun to embrace a faster offensive rhythm these years. Nevertheless, it is quite common for two superstars who have never played together to get into singles on the court and slow down the attack (think of James and Dwyane Wade with the Heat, or Chris Paul and James Harden of the Rockets). The ideal version of this team will play fast, but it may take some time.
Those Lakers fans who don’t usually watch Davis play will be surprised to find that this player, who is close to 7 feet tall, is more keen on running and shooting than back to the basket. . Despite this, you will still worry about other teams in the Western Conference. These teams have been adjusting to the small ball direction for the past few years, but will face a behemoth lineup of James, cousin and thick eyebrows next season. There will always be a mouse in the room!
Clippers: Hardly any player will occupy the back position, but Leonard and George will bully small defenders in the same way in the elbow area of the court. The Clippers will use Zubac and Harrell more as pick-and-roll screens and put them in ambush near the bottom line. The back attack has been an important part of the team's offensive system a long time ago, but The age of height may be coming back. It just may not apply to the Clippers.
Off the ball defense
The Lakers: In last season, this Cup was called the "rest time" for the Lakers veterans. Rondo andJames is the most obvious in this regard. They always stand in the penalty area and watch the ball, which makes other people on the field unable to rotate for a long time. Davis and Green can use their speed and long arms to help cover up many of these mistakes, but when Rondo is not committed to defense, his role on the court will be greatly reduced. Although Cook and Caruso have their shortcomings, they may win more playing time because of their enthusiasm. If the veterans of the Lakers always wait until the moment of life and death in the game to start participating in the defense, things will not be great.
The Clippers: Last season, the Clippers’ Both the turnover rate and the opponent's free throw rate ranked 27th in the league, and the defensive rebound rate ranked 25th. These numbersReveals a potential problem in the past lineup. They are often not in the right position to interfere with the opponent's scoring and passing. The arrival of George and Leonard will make a big difference in this regard. Opponents will still find ways to create advantages elsewhere, the Clippers just need to respond better. In any case, they have too much potential to tap in this area.
Defense with the ball
The Lakers: The Lakers were pretty solid on this point last season. Any individual singles against James will be regarded as a provocative act by him, and other Lakers players (especially Ball and Josh Hart) can also defend their position well. PlayThe Lakers' defensive efficiency ranks 13th, and given that they only won 37 wins, this is already a very good ranking. But what is worrying is that the slow-moving Cousins will be the target of the opponent's pick and roll offense, especially when Drummond Green is not behind him. Rondo is also 33 years old and will have to face all the excellent point guards in the West again. Danny Green's ball defense is excellent, but he can be easily avoided. The good news? This is what Frank Vogel does best.
The Clippers: George and Leonard are The best defensive superstar combination since the Bulls' Michael Jordan and Scott Pippen. I wish all the games will face their huge armsThe players of the exhibition are lucky and will see Beverly, who is as vicious as a bulldog, appear in front of them in the next round. George and Leonard don't need to look for the logo of this team. This is it.
The Lakers: There are few things more terrifying than James in the playoffs. Get Davis, maintain reasonable health, and we will make sure to see this version of James again. The perception of every major player on this team is now at the lowest level in history, but the Lakers have the kind of talent that can overwhelm the best defensive teams. The Clippers are better able to deal with injuries and have a higher starting point, but in doing soThe Lakers will have a higher ceiling.
The Clippers: They are building a new The super team has prepared everything: a defensive point guard (Beverly) who does not need to hold the ball and can be very effective, a deadly spot-up shooter (Shamet) who needs opponents to be on guard, can play The second team scorer (Lu Wei) who carried the heavy load at the critical moment. All of this fits perfectly with the two most comprehensive superstars in the league, who can seamlessly blend in without changing their games.
Leonard can continue his singles at halftime, and George can jump shots. George can find breakthrough opportunities on the wing, while Leonard can find weak points in defense on the weak side. TwoAnyone can push to switch offenses, attract defenses when there is no ball, or punish smaller players who switch defenses in their back position. As long as there are available shooting threats around them, opponents will lose sight of one another. After seeing Leonard lead the Raptors to the championship, it is by no means unrealistic to regard the Clippers in front of them as the championship's biggest favorite.