A third of the way into the 2019-2020 season, the two LA superteams find themselves at the top of the western conference. Even though the Clippers won the first matchup of the year between the two super teams without Paul George, the Lakers have jumped out to a 3 game lead in the standings over the Clippers. With their next matchup coming soon on Christmas Day, the Lakers will get a chance to avenge their loss earlier in the season. However, since the matchup has not happened yet, can we predict which team will do better this season? As of today, which team has had a better start to the season, and which LA team (assuming another team doesn’t win) will win the Western Conference?
The Lakers do have the advantage when it comes to point differential, with a +8.5 point differential compared to a +7.5 point differential. However, the Clippers have the superior offense, averaging 115.8 points per game compared to 112.6 points per game from the Lakers.
However, there are a few things to take into consideration before declaring the Lakers as the better team this year. ESPN’s Relative Percent Index essentially measures each team’s strength of schedule. In these rankings, the Clippers rank 5th, while the Lakers rank 11th, meaning that the Clippers have had a harder schedule. It is also important to note that Paul George and Kawhi Leonard of the Clippers have missed extended time this season, while the Lakers have been pretty healthy this season except for an extended absence from Rajon Rondo due to injury.
Essentially, the matchup between the two powerhouse LA teams will be exciting to watch and will be too close to call.