LA Clippers, not Lakers, will be the West Coast team rising from the ashes

LA Clippers All-Star Paul George in Street Clothes. Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
LA Clippers All-Star Paul George in Street Clothes. Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

This offseason seems like it is inevitable that the Los Angeles Lakers need to get better and make some roster changes to get themselves back in the playoffs. But right now it looks like the other West Coast team, the LA Clippers, is preparing to turn heads this season with the recent acquisitions made.

Both the Los Angeles Lakers and the LA Clippers missed out on the playoffs last season and while both teams suffered a slew of injuries, the  Clippers were the ones who had a better chance of making the playoffs but fell short against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the play-in tournament.

Despite having a season full of falling short of expectations, the Clippers’ front office never gave up. At the NBA Trade Deadline, the Clippers acquired Norman Powell and Robert Covington from the Portland Trail Blazers.

While we haven’t gotten a chance to see much of them on the floor with Paul George and Khawi Lenoard, we did see sparks of what their offense and defense could potentially be like with George and the rest of the supporting cast who were healthy towards the end of the season.

Covington is a 6-foot-7 3-and-D wing who can play multiple positions and has valuable playoff experience. Powell is another good defender that is more than a capable offensive player as well. These two cogs should fit well next to Kawhi and George.

And those additions were made even before the start of this offseason.

For the Lakers, well they’ve yet to make a big splash during the offseason thus far. While it’s still early, it remains to be seen how exactly Los Angeles will be able to do so. Even less so after Russell Westbrook elected to opt into the final year of his contract with the Lakers. He’s slated to make $47 million this season.

But it still wouldn’t be all that smart to completely count out the Lakers.

While they did struggle last season and had one of the worst defenses in the league, the Lakers still went most of their season without one of their star players in Anthony Davis. LeBron James also missed a handful of games and while so, Westbrook would receive unfair criticism based on his fit with the Lakers.

The trio only appeared in 21 games together this season; truly not enough games played for them to find chemistry and gel together as everyone once thought they would. The Lakers shouldn’t feel any pressure but due to the media and the way things can be portrayed, it may seem like the Lakers need a full reset.

But they may just need a fresh restart with their current players and of course, add more to the roster needs instead of chasing the next big-name star to experiment with.

On the other side of things, Clippers fans should be excited for the upcoming season with free agency just starting. When free agency opens, the Clippers are expected to ink John Wall, who was recently bought out from the Houston Rockets.

Wall sat out this past season but is still just 31 years old and could very well still have something left in the tank. Aside from Wall, there is still room for the Clippers to make some additions.

Last year the Clippers were forced to put many different starting lineups on the floor because of the roster injuries they’d incurred during the season, but the front office kept their eyes open on a couple pieces they could pair together with their superstars for the future during the season and currently still.

A supporting cast of Powell, Covington, Wall, Ivica Zubac, Marcus Morris, Reggie Jackson, Luke Kennard, and Terance Mann is a solid supporting cast around Kawhi and George.

For now, it looks like the Clippers are prepared to contend this season with the acquisitions made. The Lakers may not be far behind but with not much flexibility they may have to run it back with their current squad and pray that injuries don’t hinder their season.

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The offseason has barely started but moves are going to continue to be made. But for now, at least on paper, it looks like the Clippers might actually be ready to RUN LA. Maybe the season shows us differently.