The Los Angeles Lakers are among the favorites to win the 2019 NBA Championship, but the purple and gold will have to overcome city rivals Los Angeles Lakers at some point in the Western Conference playoffs if they want to make the 2020 NBA Finals.
The Lakers were among one of the few teams that are considered contenders that did not strengthen during the recently concluded trade window, while the Clippers did make an addition. Many are concerned the Lakers have fallen behind their city rivals going into the latter part of the season with ESPN's NBA insider Stephen A. Smith giving LeBron James and company just one solution to overcome the Clippers.
Clippers were already tipped as the favourites following their addition of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in the summer, but Anthony Davis and James' combination has put them on par with Doc Rivers' team. The Clippers have now added Marcus Morris to their lineup making it one more strong defensive player with the ability contribute with points.
Morris had joined the New York Knicks from the Boston Celtics in free agency was averaging 19.6 points and 5.4 rebounds in 32.3 minutes per game. The Lakers were also reportedly interested in adding Morris to their lineup but failed in their endeavour, which could come back to haunt them during the playoffs.
Smith believes there is only one way the Lakers can now overcome the Clippers when they eventually meet in the playoffs and that is if James turns back time and brings back his vintage form that saw him dominate the game during his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat. He admits that it will be difficult as the Clippers now have four top class defensive players they can use to quell the three-time Champion's threat, but believes that is the only way.
"Morris is an additional body to defend against LeBron. You're gonna throw Beverley at him, you're gonna throw Paul George and then you're gonna throw Kawhi Leonard at him and now you're gonna throw Morris. You've got four different bodies that you can throw at the playmaker that is LeBron James," Stephen A. Smith said on ESPN's First Take. "What's your backup plan, Lakers? What's your backup plan, Rob Pelinka? I don't believe they have one against the Clippers."
"I got one hope, I got a hope that LeBron James turns back that clock about four or five years, it's all I got. I didn't feel that way until they got Morris," the NBA insider added.