This season, with Anthony Davis and LeBron James on the Lakers and Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on the Clippers, Los Angeles basketball has the potential to be the most exciting it’s ever been, and the city’s two teams could form one of the NBA’s most heated rivalries.
Despite this, Danny Green isn’t buying into the hype.
In an interview with Wosny Lambre of The Athletic, Green denied that there’s any budding rivalry between the Lakers and Clippers, and said his team is more concerned with improving to the best of their abilities than worrying about their Staples Center co-tenants.
However, Green did acknowledge that the talent the team across the hall has is special:
Do you see the LA Clippers as rivals? Seeing as you share a city, a building, and you’re both chasing a championship this season.
No. We’re not worried about anybody but us. We feel like we have what we need (for a championship) and if we do things the right way like we’re supposed to, we feel like the only team that can beat us is us. So we just need to stay healthy and do things the right way. But they obviously have a good team, as well as some other teams in the west. We’re definitely not sleeping on anybody. But were just worried about reaching our full potential. If we reach our full potential and don’t win, we can live with that. We can’t let small things like rivalries distract us from our goal of being the last ones standing.
That’s not exactly the stance Green has always taken, but while his current feelings probably reflect those of some of his teammates, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be a rivalry between the Lakers and Clippers this season. I mean, they can’t really help it.
The Lakers and Clippers are expected to be two of the best teams in Western Conference and they share a stadium. That alone is enough for a rivalry.
Then, you take into account that not too long ago, the Clippers’ two stars — George and Leonard — were coveted by the Lakers and snubbed them, and there’s some feelings involved.
There might not be a ton of on-court history between the Clippers and Lakers to make them heated rivals, but there’s enough subtext for their games to be must-watch television this season.
The gloves come off for the first time on opening night: Tuesday, Oct. 22, which is less than two weeks away. Then we’ll get our first look at how much of a rivalry this will or won’t be.