Los Angeles Clippers, Utah Jazz, Kawhi Leonard, NBA, Donovan Mitchell, Paul George, Western Conference ?: Stephen A. & Max debate the Lakers’ biggest threat | First Take

I understand that they don’t have kawhi leonard and they don’t have paul george uh, but i believe in donovan mitchell. I believe that donovan mitchell is a stud now i’m. Not an overall believer in the jazz in terms of them knocking off a healthy, los angeles lakers squad, which is the position that i took yesterday. But i will tell you that if the anthony davis is down and out um, when i look at the jazz as more formidable, because i look at them as a deeper team and i look at donovan mitchell uh as a superstar in the making. If he’s not already there, he is just something special. He doesn’t fold or fade come play off time, he’s going to make sure his presence is felt, and then i look at what they do defensively they’re. Fourth and they’re, like third in the league defensively they’re. Fourth, offensively they distribute the ball. They’Ve got how many dudes one two three four five, six different dudes averaging uh 11 and a half points or better on this squad. You’Ve got a guy in royce, o’neill who’s, a defensive ace on the perimeter and a guy in rudy, gobert who’s, a defensive player of the year and a candidate for that award practically every single year, and so you’ve got defense on the interior. You’Ve got defense on the perimeter and you’ve got a cat like donovan donovan mitchell who’s, a flat out stud mike conley, has been playing well.

Bogdanovic was a big time pickup. I just look at them right now in terms of their depth and if the lakers are not standing there, then, ultimately with the clippers or anybody else, it comes down to one or two players: the clippers with kawhi paul george denver with jamal maria or the joker Uh, you know portland with with nurkic or or mccullum rather and and dame dollar but utah. They can hit you in a multitude of ways and that’s. Why i have to look at them and say: if the lakers can’t go, they could be a bigger threat to anybody. Well, i actually think the clippers are also extremely deep. I admit this is extremely close, because donovan mitchell showed in the playoff stephen a that when it matters most, he is a superstar, whether he’s not his, whether he’s a star or a superstar. Normally, when it matters most he’s, a superstar we’ll see if mike conley can be that too, and then you have a one, two punch, maybe and and paul george also needs to show. He can be that that that deuce to to to um kawhi’s ace, but what it comes down to for me is do i want kawhi leonard and paul george or donovan mitchell and mike conley. I want kawhi leonard and paul george and i have to believe one of these postseasons paul george is really going to show up, but i, like the long athletic elite, two way: wing players and that’s what the clippers have in terms of the depth.

You’Re absolutely right to point out the jazz depth and royce so kneeling, guys like that who can really three and d. You know a lot of times. The guy has a so. The team has a guy on the bench: oh he’s, our three and d player, not really in name mainly but a guy like o’neill’s, a real 3nd guy, an elite guy. In that respect, and you point out gobert and all the different parts that they have bogdanovic. They really do have a lot of good parts, so do the clippers so do the clippers and and by the way, they’ve been all banged up. Even batum is starting to get nicked up now, right and patrick beverly’s missed time and kawhi and paul george they’re. Only two and a half games behind the jazz, in spite of all those injuries, so they have their big two, but they also have ibaka and they also have patrick beverly and they also have lou williams and they also have marcus morris. And i mentioned nick batum who’s had a career renaissance and he’s a very good player when healthy and on the floor and motivated, which he seems to be. I haven’t even mentioned, like reggie, jackson or or you know they like the jazz, are an extremely well coached. Ty lue quinn, snyder, both elite coaches, an extremely well coached and deep team. For me, it comes down to who’s one two punch: do you like best? I, like the clippers, a little more than the jazz? Well, i i don’t view the jazz as a one.

Two punch, i think, they’re one punches. Their defense they’re won two punches donovan mitchell and his supporting cast, whoever that may be on a night and night out basis. It could be one conley one night, bob donovich another night, rudy gobert, another night et cetera et cetera, but they are an elite defensive team, in my estimation, not to say that the clippers are not, but they definitely are. Number two i’ve got the backdrop of two dudes folded and gold in game: seven number three: i’m, not a fan of the luke canard up, i mean i know, he’s no scrub and he can shoot the ball, but i’ve never been a fan of that. You know to me to some degree – and i don’t know how, because i need to watch them a little bit more because, obviously i’m a very, very busy man, you know hosting three damn shows to crying out for crying out loud. I i got ta tell you. I i mean lou williams: doesn’t seem to be like himself. I think that something has compromised him to some degree. I’M, not don’t, get me wrong, he’s still averaging like 12 again whatever, but this is louis talking about here, it’s, lou williams. You understand. Sixth man of the year, and all that i mean this dude right here – he is a scoring machine and i i’m i’m not seeing what i’m accustomed to seeing him, and i saw his minutes compromised a bit early in the season.

I was wondering what the hell’s going on with ty lue, who, i think, is a coach of the year candidate. By the way, i think, he’s doing a hell of a job, but in the end, what it comes down to is that the clippers? You know where they’re going and you know who they’re going to rely upon when all is said and done and it’s gon na come down to kawhi and paul george. I got news for you crunch time money on the line. There are very, very few people in in in this world that i’d be more comfortable, giving the ball to than donovan mitchell. The brother is a stuff i’m with you. He is the wayne wade 2.0 today he’s the new keys, the new he’s, the new version of the wayne way or that’s, who donovan mitchell is to me: oh yeah, either 2.0 or 0.9, all right, whatever we don’t know if he’s 2.0, but he is he. I get it about the dwyane wade, comparison i’m, a huge huge donovan mitchell fan, but in spite of kawhi’s choke in game, seven stephen a he had another all time. Great playoff run last year, followed by one of the greatest postseasons of all time. The year before, he’s a two time, finals, mvp so kawhi. I also very much trust in that situation. One thing i’ll say is: the clippers may have the best two players in the series, maybe depending on how paul george plays, but but the the jazz are a little deeper on top like bogdanovic and gobert are better than anyone else other than the big two on The clippers – i want to point this out, though, when kawhi and paul george have been on the court together.

This season, you can argue, the clippers have been the best team in basketball. They are outscoring opponents per 100 possessions, except for when they lost to brooklyn.

What do you think?

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