Former Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson says his longtime team is “playing the best out of anybody” in the Western Conference right now, but acknowledges that the Clippers may have the deepest roster of the two Los Angeles teams, writes Mark Medina of USA Today.
“If you look at man-for-man, (the Clippers are) probably better than (the Lakers) in terms of the bench,” said Johnson, who predicted the two L.A. clubs would meet in the Western Finals. “… Anthony Davis and LeBron James, to me they are going to be the key and they are going to have to dominate in that series. Then we’re going to need that third scorer (to step up).”
While the Clippers have solidified their rotation by trading for Marcus Morris and reaching a deal to sign Reggie Jackson, the Lakers have been quiet this month. They’re still monitoring the buyout market as they consider how to improve their title chances, according to Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times.
Here’s more from around the Pacific:
- Assuming the Clippers finalize their reported deal with Jackson today, they’ll still be $767,620 below the tax line, giving them enough breathing room to remain below that threshold even if and when they sign a 15th man, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.
- Andrew Wiggins has yet to evolve into the sort of lock-down defender that many talent evaluators believed he could become out of college, but Draymond Green is confident that the newly-acquired Warriors forward can still reach that level, Slater writes for The Athletic. “I think he can be an All-Defensive player. That’s one of my goals for him,” Green said of his new teammate. “As a leader of this team, that’s one of the things I really want to push him on.”
- In his latest mailbag for The Sacramento Bee, Jason Anderson answers questions related to Vlade Divac‘s future, Marvin Bagley III‘s health, and possible roles for Alex Len and Jabari Parker. Anderson doesn’t believe Divac’s job will be in jeopardy this spring, but says the GM’s seat could get hot next season if the Kings are healthier and still don’t take a significant step forward.