1-Man’s Opinion on Sports-Wednesday “Clippers-Lakers Rivalry-A Different Chapter”
“Clippers-What Are They Getting”
The Los Angeles Clippers have been chasing what the Los Angeles Lakers have, ‘Championship Banners’.
They’ve been close to getting to the NBA finals in the past, but never got there.
But this is a different era under the ownership of billionaire Steve Balmer.
They are arriving as the LA Lakers appear to be leaving forever, under the leadership of Jeannie Buss.
The Clippers think they may be of championship calibre. As the Lakers come out of the All Star break, they are a 13th place team, and it seems all they can talk about is making the NBA’s one game play in format, with the hope they could get to the second round.
Such is life in LA these days.
Who knows if the Lakers acquisition of 4-players led by Rui Hachimura, will actually make a difference, or will the rest of the season swirl around whether LeBron James and Anthony Davis can actually stay on the floor, injury free for a two months span.
The Clippers keep adding pieces, the latest being once star guard Russell Westbrook, who resided on the Lakers bench this year, giving them (15P-6A-6R) per game coming off the pines.
But the team continued to malfunction, even with Westbrook on board. History will write the acquisition was a failure. Nothing seemed to fit
when he was on the floor. The Lakers scuffles are more than just him, but the (47M) contract was something he had to drag around with him, and that always became a topic of conversation.
So Westbrook joins the Clippers with a mandate, run the offense, push the tempo, get to the rim, make the right pass and give us some grit.
He couldn’t do that with the Lakers because LeBron James had to have the ball in his hands all the time.
Paul George, his Clipper teammate, pushed for Westbrooke to land in Clipper colors because they played so well together when they were in Oklahoma City as members of a vibrant Thunder team. But that was a long time ago, alot of 3-points ago, a bunch of triple doubles ago.
Westbrook no longer looks like ‘Mr-Triple-Double’. Yes a 9-time All Star. Yes an NBA MVP. But that was before airballs, bad shot selection, 40% from the floor, 30% from the 3-point line. A long time back, now a guy being dealt multiple times, or being benched as he was with the Purple and Gold.
His 9-year run with the Thunder was marvelous including the MVP year when his numbers were superb (31-P-10R-10A) per game, an amazing stat.
But Westbrook is now on his 4th team in 4-years, so his game is not the same.
Can he run the floor with Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Norm Powell. Can he get off good shots, make great passes, and make the Clippers a ‘force the ball up the floor’ type team?
Westbrook joins Bones Hyland (Denver) and Eric Gordon (Houston) trying to take the scoring load off the Clips cornerstones, Kawhi and PG. The 3-newcomers could turn out to be the best trade deadline acquisitions with greater impacts than Kyrie Irving to Dallas and even Kevin Durant to the Suns. .
Perfect fit, or just another mistake, remembering Westbrook as he used to be, not what he is now.
The Clippers are now on the clock as the chase for playoff slots begins coming out of the All Star break. It might be the best deals anyone in the Association has made.
Keep an eye on whether the Clippers get hot, and go somewhere they’ve never been, deep into the playoffs. The Lakers will likely be an afterthought. The Clippers think they will be front and center..