SB Nation just came out with their latest NBA Power Rankings, and it tells two different stories about the two franchises from Los Angeles. First, the Lakers, who rank as the 4th best team in the NBA.
Pau Gasol has been more aggressive since Kobe Bryant's now infamous Black Swan chatter last week, but will it last? Pau has a history of mean-mugging for a little while before settling back into his comfort zone. These Lakers might not be able to afford that.
I think we all know that if the Lakers were playing the type of basketball they are capable they would be a lot higher on this list. But four isn't horrible, and I think we are all expecting the Lakers to be a lot better when it's all said and done. So I wouldn't worry about that.
As for the Clippers, they come in at 22.
DeAndre Jordan's defense is viscerally good -- he rebounds well and blocks a ton of shots -- but as it turns out, the numbers say L.A.'s defense is actually a bit worse when he's on the court. A few factors, including Blake Griffin's bad defense, may be affecting that. But at this point, his reputation might just be a bit overblown.
The bit about Jordan's defense is a little bit surprising, but I think Tom Ziller is right in attributing some of the blame to Blake Griffin. i think he has the potential to be a good defender, but it isn't fair to expect him to be a good defender in his rookie year. But he still might get there. The Clippers have been playing well over the last few months, thanks in large part to Griffin's play, but they are still just 19-31 on the season. Being ranked at 22 reminds us of that.