Who Has the Best Superstars in LA?
The upstart Clippers with Kawhi and PG are now challenging the Lakers with LeBron and AD for who has the best superstar duo in Los Angeles
No disrespect to Kawhi Leonard but the stark reality is the Los Angeles Lakers had already won the NBA offseason when they traded for Anthony Davis to give them with the most unstoppable superstar duo in the NBA.
As great as Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will be for the Clippers, they’re not going to be the unstoppable difference makers and championship creators that the tandem of Anthony Davis and LeBron James will be for the Lakers. While Kawhi and PG are elite scorers and defenders, neither has the ability to impact the Clippers the way that LeBron and AD will transform the Lakers with their elite playmaking and positional diversity.
While Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are both top-ten NBA players, they’re the same player when it comes down to their positions and how they play, their skill sets, size and length, and strengths and weakness. They’re all-star small forwards who can score, rebound, and defend. Their measurements and performance stats are eerily similar, almost like they were cloned from the same template. They’re interchangeable.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis, meanwhile, form a complementary tandem. James is basically a once-in-a generation point guard in a power forward’s body while Davis is the ideal prototype for a modern center. What jumps out comparing their stats with Kawhi’s and PG’s are LeBron’s 8.3 assists and AD’s 12.0 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. Kawhi or PG can’t distribute, rebound, or protect the rim like LeBron and AD.
Having an elite playmaker like LeBron James and a dominating rebounder and rim protector like Anthony Davis is what will enable the Lakers to beat the Clippers when they meet in the Western Conference Finals. It’s impossible to compare the synergistic impact and nightmare mismatches having LeBron at the point and AD at center provides the Lakers versus what Kawhi Leonard and Paul George provide the Clippers.
Of course, the Lakers and Clippers could make changes before the playoffs next season to change the dynamic. The Clippers could trade for a rim protector who could limit the damage Anthony Davis could reap. Or the Lakers sign Andre Iguodala once the Grizzlies waive him, which would then give them two elite wing defenders in Danny Green and Iggy to minimize the damage that Kawhi and PG could create.
But in the end, it’s hard to imagine LeBron James and Anthony Davis not winning the playoff matchup against Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, which should be enough for the Lakers to beat the Clippers. While Kawhi or PG might be able to slow down LeBron James, the Clippers simply don’t have an answer for Lakers center Anthony Davis, who’s probably going to dominate the hapless Ivica Zubac and Montrezl Harrell.
Until age catches up with LeBron, the Lakers superstar tandem of LeBron James and Anthony Davis is just too good and impacts the game in ways that Clipper superstars Kawhi and PG don’t have the tools to prevent.