Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal had an intense debate about the former calling the LA Clippers as the Western Conference favorites on the Inside the NBA show. Barkley considered teams like the Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns amongst the favorites.
He has actually now included the Clippers and New Orleans Pelicans to that bracket. Here’s what Barkley stated:
However, O’Neal wasn’t a fan of the Clippers’ inclusion because conversation. The former LA Lakers superstar came out in assistance of the Purple and Gold, stating:
The LA Clippers and LA Lakers have both struggled due to various factors. The Clippers haven’t had their two superstars, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, readily available for the majority of the games. The Lakers have been over-reliant on their leaders, LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
The groups from Hollywood have a lot to figure out as the season progresses. It would be unreasonable to provide either one the tag as the favorite, and it’s certainly hard to pick which group would do much better come playoff time.
LA Clippers most likely to do better than LA Lakers provided their superstars remain healthy
The LA Clippers and LA Lakers have both had a hard time due to different reasons. The Clippers haven’t had their 2 superstars, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, available for bulk of the games. That may not be the circumstance with the Clippers if Leonard and George are 100%. Considering how careful the team has actually been with their workload, they are most likely to go into the playoffs in much better shape compared to the Lakers’ superstar duo.
That hasn’t been the case with the Lakers. LeBron James and Anthony Davis have actually needed to play through niggles considering that the team’s 2-8 start. The Lakers do not have shooters and can not depend on their supporting cast to win games in their co-captains’ absence.
If Leonard and George are 100%, that may not be the situation with the Clippers. Considering how cautious the group has actually been with their workload, they are likely to get in the playoffs in better shape compared to the Lakers’ superstar duo. That will provide a substantial advantage in the postseason.
The last time the LA Clippers were in the playoffs (2021) and Kawhi Leonard and Paul George were healthy, they looked unplayable at times and were the favorites to win the West. However, Leonard sustained a knee injury in the second round, which messed up the Clippers’ possibilities of falling the Suns in the conference finals.
All four gamers have been injury vulnerable over the last couple of years. James and Davis, when healthy, are arguably the very best duos in the league, but with a badly constructed lineup around them, they could fail in the playoffs.
One key distinction in between the LA Clippers and LA Lakers is their respective team depth. The Clippers are a well-rounded group and role gamers who could help them win video games without their superstars, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.