The upcoming NBA season is going to have lots of old faces in new places. One, in particular, is in Los Angeles with Anthony Davis coming over via trade to the Lakers, and Paul George and Kawhi Leonard joining the Clippers, the latter being the reigning NBA Finals MVP.
The question now is, who runs Los Angeles, the Lakers led by LeBron James or the re-vamped Clippers with Leonard and George at the helm?
On paper, you can say both teams have finals potential by picking up key pieces to make a deep run in the playoff. The Lakers swooped in on veterans Danny Green and Dwight Howard to add much-needed depth to a top-heavy roster. The Lakers also took fliers on Avery Bradley and DeMarcus Cousins, the latter having torn his ACL ruling him out for the season.
The Clippers cleared the cap and traded future draft picks to resign sixth man Lou Williams along with Patrick Beverley. Clippers owner Steve Ballmer strategically attacked the offseason and reshaped the roster to not only make a deep playoff run but to move past the letdown of the 'Lob City' era.
With four of the best players in the NBA calling Staples Center home, the war for Los Angeles has never been viler.
Lakers fans, haunted by a six-year playoff drought, are clamoring for a 17th title. Last year's trade deadline debacle and James' untimely injury shattered any chance of a return to greatness for the Lakers. The 'core' experiment is over, with Kyle Kuzma the lone player remaining from the short-lived pipe dream.
Unlike the Lakers, the Clippers have ascended to the top of the NBA with playoff appearances in seven of the last eight seasons. Adding Leonard and George, Clipper fans are claiming they now run Hollywood.
While true in recent history, the Lakers still run the city of angels. The Lakers' legacy is entrenched in LA from names to Magic, Shaq, and Kobe, and the multiple championship banners the Clippers have yet to accomplish.
The Clippers are coming off another playoff appearance last season where they took the Warriors to six games, but the loss wasn't the only slap in the face.
Superfan 'Clipper Darrell' said he was a Laker after the team traded away stars Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordon. When a team's superfan jumps ship to the rival team, it's telling who truly runs Los Angeles.
The Clippers have plenty of ground to make up in order to call LA a 'Clipper town,' but winning a title this season would go a long way to diminishing the Lakers stranglehold on Hollywood.
Fittingly, the Lakers and Clippers open the season against each other on October 22nd. Paul George won't be suiting up for the Clippers, thus a true Clippers versus Lakers matchup will have to wait till Christmas.
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