The Western Conference is a veritable jungle, and predicting the franchise that will be able to extricate itself from it to go to the Finals is a real headache. According to a former champion, however, this honor should go to a specific team … and it will make the Lakers really angry!
If the Lakers want to get back on top of the league in 2022-23, they’re going to have to overcome some big hurdles. The first is internal, since it will finally be necessary to create cohesion within the team, which it completely lacked last year. Then, it will be necessary to overcome their opponents in the Western Conference in order to represent it in the Finals. A mission perhaps even harder to accomplish than the first one mentioned…
Indeed, given the particularly tough competition (one thinks in particular of Golden State, Memphis or Dallas), LeBron James & co. must be at the top of their abilities. However, even then, Derek Fisher thinks it’s another West team that should reach the last step before the title. Asked by Sports Illustratedthe former point guard declared that the Clippers would make a very serious candidate:
Clippers to watch according to Derek Fisher
I think the Clippers have as much of a chance as anyone to win the Western Conference. I don’t know if LA is prepared for the Clippers to come out of the West and go to the Finals before the Lakers, but it’s legitimately possible based on how the teams are currently built, and we’ll just have to see how the season unfolds.
This statement is not going to please fans of the Crimson and Gold at all, especially since Fish is an iconic member of the franchise. However, he is not the only one to make such a speech about their local rival. A prominent journalist had made similar comments about the Sailboats a few days ago, proof that the squad of Tyronn Lue inspires more and more respect in observers. It must be said that unlike last year, this one should be complete.
After all, Californians will finally be able to count on Kawhi Leonard, whose return is expected by all. Injured in the knee ligaments during the 2021 playoffs, The Klaw remains on a white season and his performances will therefore logically be scrutinized very closely. Same for Paul George, who missed a good part of the last exercise, also for physical concerns. This tandem has what it takes to cause carnage, again according to Fisher:
I think Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the combination of those two guys is amazing. When you think about what the Boston Celtics were able to do with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown making a similar duo, Kawhi and Paul George are the grown-up version of those two guys in my opinion.
That said, now remains to meet expectations. Having never gone beyond the conference finals since the beginning of their association, the two wingers have their work cut out for them.
According to Derek Fisher, it will absolutely be necessary to keep an eye on the Clippers next year, they who could well represent the West in the Finals. No offense to the Lakers, who thought they had finally risen above their local rival again…