There have been a number of historic Western Conference rivalries in the past decade. The Los Angeles Lakers and the Sacramento Kings in the Pacific division, the Texas triangle, comprised of the San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets and the Lakers-Spurs interdivisional rivalry.
We could be on the verge of adding another rivalry to that list; the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers. The Dubs and Clips have had a history of failures and disappointments, but both franchises seem on the verge of transforming their past identities. It is for this reason that the Clippers-Warriors rivalry will be one for the ages in the coming years.
The Warriors haven’t ever been able to say that another team was their rival. This is probably due to the fact that they have never had enough sustained success to breed any sort of rivalry. This will all change in the coming years, as the continued rise of Stephen Curry, youthful talent in Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson and the competency of the Warriors’ owners essentially ensure a playoff appearance until 2016. So that answers why the Warriors will have a rival soon, but why the Clippers?
The Clippers are the only other team in recent memory that fits the description of a lottery team that jumps into the playoffs the next year. The Clippers’ duo of Blake Griffin and Chris Paul fuels a style of exciting basketball which earned them the “Lob City” label.
Meanwhile, Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry’s three-point expertise earned them the nickname “Splash Brothers.” Both teams play at an electrifying pace and perform amazing feats whether its right at the rim or 30 feet away from the hoop.
The potential for a rivalry is compounded when you consider the potential trade that could happen between the Boston Celtics and the Clippers. The on-again/off-again trade talks have apparently resumed. The rumored trade would send DeAndre Jordan to the Celtics for Kevin Garnett, and the Clippers would also give up two first-round draft picks for Coach of the Year winner Doc Rivers.
The move would not only add veteran expertise to a relatively young squad, it would completely ensure that Paul would remains in a Clippers unifrom. The move would make up for the fact that the Clippers regressed this year from a second- round exit to a first-round dissappointment at the hand of the Memphis Grizzlies. A Garnett-Griffin-Paul trio led by Rivers would be truly a force to be reckoned with.
A reinforced Clippers team would clash very well with a young squad that can only mature in the Warriors. The Clippers can finally boast a real rivalry with the Lakers, but to truly compete with their “big brother” team, they will need another divisional rivalry. The Warriors provide the perfect answer, as they will be a Western Conference playoff fixture for many years to come.
As both the Clippers and Warriors mature into powerhouse franchises, look for a rivalry between the two to begin.