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Lakers vs Clippers: Southern California NBA Season Preview

Just over 20 miles from Cerritos are two teams getting set to start their respective NBA seasons. The Los Angeles Lakers and the LA Clippers come into the 2023–24 NBA season with high expectations and the hopes of winning a championship. But which of these teams is better? Here, we break down the upcoming seasons for the two major basketball teams and their keys to this season.

Los Angeles Lakers: Hoping To Build on Conference Finals Trip

Coming into the 2023–24 NBA season, one of the most popular basketball bets is for the Los Angeles Lakers to win the NBA Finals. The Lakers made it to the Western Conference Finals last season before being swept by the eventual NBA champion Denver Nuggets in that round of the postseason. This year, the Lakers have made some moves that will bolster their roster and push them over the top once again in the Western Conference.

This year’s Lakers will have a similar starting lineup to last year’s team that made a deep run in the postseason. The difference for this team will be on the bench, where they have added Christian Wood, Taurean Prince, Gabe Vincent, and Jaxson Hayes. That extra frontcourt depth will help guard against any potential time missed for Anthony Davis. It will also give this team some much-needed versatility from its bigs, especially from Wood.

However, the key to success for this year’s Lakers will be three-point shooting, something they did not do particularly well a season ago. D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, and Vincent will be essential for the Lakers in this area of the game. Suppose they can shoot the ball at a respectable clip. In that case, it will allow the Lakers to spread the floor more effectively, making paint scoring easier for LeBron James and Anthony Davis, likely creating a successful season for the purple and gold.

LA Clippers: Can Stars Stay Healthy?

The LA Clippers have a promising roster and a starting lineup that has star forward Paul George excited for his teammates. Barring a massive meltdown from this group during the 2023-24 season, this Clippers team should be headed for the NBA playoffs. The question for the Clippers this year will once again be whether or not they will stay healthy enough to be legitimate title contenders.

Over the last couple of seasons, the Clippers have struggled to keep Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on the floor together for most of the season. That has resulted in the Clippers underachieving and failing to take down the best teams in the Western Conference in the postseason. If their injury concerns do not go away this year, we could be in for another season of the Clippers failing to live up to the hype in the Western Conference.

LA has some nice depth off their bench to help them through any tough times caused by injuries this year. The duo of Bones Hyland and Norman Powell make one of the better guard duos on the bench in the NBA today. While that will not be an adequate substitute for having Leonard and George on the floor, the Clippers bench could become a pivotal factor in the playoffs if this team stays healthy.

Lakers vs Clippers: Who Will Be Better?

Going into this season, it is tough to tell whether the Lakers or Clippers will be better in Los Angeles during the 2023–24 NBA season. Their season win total projections are virtually identical, and both teams have a ton of talent on their respective rosters. What will determine which team is better this season is which of these two teams stays healthy the longest.

Injuries are an inevitability in today’s NBA, especially with Commissioner Adam Silver’s edict that teams not rest their star players as much as they have in the past. However, the severity of injuries and how many of them there are will determine which teams have a better record and, therefore, get better seeding in the playoffs.

This will likely be the last season in which the Lakers and Clippers share an arena together. The Clippers are scheduled to move into the Intuit Dome in Inglewood, complete with a video board above the court, for the 2024–25 season. That will make the competition between the Lakers and Clippers this season all the more remarkable, as their time as rivals in the same building is set to come to an end.

There is plenty to look forward to in Southern California in the NBA in the 2023–24 season. Both the Lakers and Clippers have put together rosters that have the opportunity to win games here and now. Still, there is a substantial difference between the potential to win a championship and actually winning one, and both of these franchises will need to earn their success on the court this year.