Tonight marks the start of the new NBA season, and the most anticipated game is between the two L.A. teams, the Lakers and the Clippers. Both sides were incredibly active in the free agency this summer, attracting big-name players on their rosters. Lakers and the Clippers are more than capable of winning NBA championships this season; however, numerous NBA analysts give a slight advantage to the Clippers.
In a recent interview for the Los Angeles Times, Kobe Bryant spoke about the dynamic duo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George the Clippers were able to bring to their team. Bryant said he knows both of them for a very long time and is aware of the fact they are both tough, competitive, and ready to win. One of the most significant advantages they have is that they are both more than capable of playing both ends of the floor efficiently and therefore add tremendous value to the Clippers.
“I’ve known them both for a very long time, and they’re both tough, very inquisitive.I remember sitting with Kawhi during All-Star weekend when he was a rookie. We were at a Nike suite, and he came by and sat next to me and starts peppering me with questions about the game and summer regimens. It was the same with P.G. They’re so competitive on both ends of the floor. It’s not a tit-for-tat thing where you score, and I score. They don’t believe in that. It’s ‘You can’t stop me, and I will shut you down.’ That’s a different mentality. Not a lot of players have that.”
Bryant also weighed in on the notion that both George and Kawhi wanted to take upon the challenge to beat LeBron instead of joining him with the Lakers. They were both closely connected with the Lakers this summer but ended up with the Clippers instead.
“I’m sure Kawhi wants to take the challenge of winning independent of playing with LeBron. Maybe that was the same for PG I think they relish the challenge of taking on something new. I don’t think it was a slight at the Lakers. It was more about circumstances and what was already here in L.A. and on the Lakers, and they wanted to take the challenge of building something new.”
Even though Lakers struck out in getting Kawhi and George, Bryant believes they still did a great job this summer by attracting Anthony Davis and a couple of solid role players to support him and LeBron.
“But the Lakers did OK. I saw a lot of Lakers fans were very disappointed, and rightfully so, that they didn’t get Kawhi. But you did get Anthony Davis. The Lakers have two freaks of nature. They’re going to be fine. It’s a hell of a time to be in L.A.”