ClipperBlog’s Kevin Arnovitz and Jovan Buha answered some questions on the revitalized rivalry between the Clippers and Lakers in a feature on ESPN.com:
1. Who are the three best players in Los Angeles?
Kevin Arnovitz, ESPN.com: (1) Chris Paul. (2) Kobe Bryant. (3) Blake Griffin. And I feel ludicrous leaving Pau Gasol off the list because he’s one of the best reasons to watch basketball in Los Angeles. The point is that if you have the next six months free and unlimited resources, rent a place within five blocks of Staples Center, buy two sets of season tickets and die happy.
Jovan Buha, ClipperBlog: (1) Chris Paul. (2) Kobe Bryant. (3) Blake Griffin. Paul is arguably the league’s best point guard since Magic Johnson and clearly the best player in L.A. Bryant, while diminishing in skill, is still the “King of L.A.” However, his throne is in danger. Griffin, the almighty challenger, is rapidly approaching Bryant in terms of skill set and stature, and he should be ruling L.A. for years to come.
Chad Ford, ESPN.com: Paul edges out Kobe only because Kobe, at the age of 33, is now slightly less effective than he used to be. Paul, to me, is still the best point guard in the NBA and can have a bigger impact on the game right now. Griffin is a distant third and just a sliver ahead of Pau Gasol. But with Paul throwing him lobs and getting him a few extra easy buckets a night, Griffin should quickly start widening the gap between him and Gasol.
Darius Soriano, Forum Blue and Gold: (1) Kobe Bryant, (2) Chris Paul, (3) Pau Gasol. Kobe and Paul could easily be switched here with little complaint from me. They’re both sublime players who impact the game like few others. Gasol, though, continues to be the third-best player in Los Angeles because of his work on the boards, his all-around offensive game, underrated help and positional defense, and elite passing.
Marc Stein, ESPN.com: (1) Chris Paul. (2) Kobe Bryant. (3) Blake Griffin. CP3 is a certifiable top-10 talent. All those miles have slowed Kobe just enough to open up the floor for Griffin, another top-15 talent. But the holes in Griffin’s game — you still don’t have to guard him when he’s 18 feet out and his tendency to overdribble gets him into trouble — keep him third for now. Barely.