Possibly the two favorites for the NBA championship in the Western Conference are the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers. Both LA teams made big moves in the offseason, and look primed for a deep playoff run as we enter the second half of the regular season.
Boosted by star power with the likes of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, and Paul George, both teams seem destined to meet in the playoffs at some point.
But there are key reasons why the Los Angeles Lakers will be the team to come out on top. As good as the Clippers are, especially with the new signing of Marcus Morris, the Lakers will be able to come out on top and reach the NBA Finals to win it all. Here are the most important reasons why.
5. Clippers Locker Room Drama
There have been steady rumblings that the Clippers do not have the tightest team chemistry. After all, thanks to clear coddling of superstar players Paul George and especially Kawhi Leonard, reports have emerged that this superstar treatment is rubbing players the wrong way.
The NBA is a league of superstars, but the way Kawhi handles the regular season by playing when he feels ready is not the best chemistry builder.
Not to mention, players competing for a title like to be acknowledged. Montrezl Harrell is a player who would appreciate the praise he feels he truly deserves by playing hard and sacrificing his numbers every night, and some other players might feel the same way. Overall, it seems that the Laker's locker room is on the same page while the Clippers have some sorting out to do.
4. The Threat of Anthony Davis In The Paint
LeBron James is the best player on the Lakers, and hardly anyone would dispute that. But the playoff showdown will come down to one factor: matchups. The Clippers have an assortment of key defenders who can match up with LeBron, including Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, so they can try their best to minimize the King's impact. But Davis creates a ton of matchup problems. He is very tall, long, and can be a dominating presence in the paint.
The Clippers, even with the addition of Marcus Morris, lack a true center or defensive big with height. Morris and Harrell are simply not traditional centers and will find it hard to deal with Davis down low. The strength of the Clippers lies in their guard and forward play, while the Lakers have an undeniable force inside in Anthony Davis.
3. Lakers Homecourt Advantage
The Lakers have been the best team in the West all season long, and they may have secured homecourt advantage over the Clippers in the Playoffs. They are currently the first seed in the West and have been by far the most consistent and dominant team since the start of the regular season. When the Lakers and Clippers meet in the playoffs, homecourt will be a big factor.
Staples Center will be buzzing with Lakers fans from all over California and all over the world. This will have a tremendous impact on both the morals of the Lakers and also be bothersome, at least slightly, to the Clippers who are viewed as the noisy neighbors. The Lakers' homecourt advantage will come in handy when the going gets tough as the series progresses to seven games.
2. LeBron & AD Are Better Than Kawhi & PG
As previously mentioned, superstar power usually dictates the outcome of most NBA seasons. That is why a great player like LeBron James will usually lead his team to the NBA Finals every year because great players can usually impact basketball more so than any sport in the world. When it boils down to superstar players, LeBron James and Anthony Davis are simply a better duo than Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
While this is no knock against Leonard and George, as the former is a reigning Finals MVP while the latter was an MVP candidate who had a career year last season. But LeBron and AD rank in the top five players on Earth while George will be lucky to be mentioned in the top 10. Especially this season, where George has not really played up to his level and has struggled with injuries.
If it comes down to who performs best, you can count on AD and James to get it done over Kawhi and George.
1. KOBE, THIS IS FOR YOU!
By far the number one reason to win it all will be for the sake and legacy of the great Kobe Bryant. The passing of Kobe Bryant affected the entire NBA Universe, and especially the likes of LeBron James. LeBron mentioned himself that he wants to win it all for the sake of Bryant, and remind everybody the joy that Bryant brought to the Staples Center whenever he played every night and won championships for the Lakers.
Most people in the NBA Universe want to see LeBron James dedicate the NBA title to Bryant, and hoist the most important trophy in NBA history in his honor. Not to mention, perhaps most importantly, the Lakers were able to capture NBA titles in 2000 and 2010 when they were led by Kobe Bryant.
To start off the new decade, 2020, winning another title would be the greatest blessing for the Lakers. Plus, nothing would be more gratifying than to see James lift the trophy and yell, "KOBE, THIS IS FOR YOU!".
This might be the greatest achievement in LeBron's legendary career.