Lou Williams offers a unique perspective on the rivalry between the Clippers and Lakers because he has been on both sides of the equation.
So for the always cool Williams, the rivalry between the two teams that share Staples Center is all about the fans and their loyalties.
Even with both teams having superstars — the Clippers with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George and the Lakers with LeBron James and Anthony Davis — Williams’ view is that the season opener between the clubs on Tuesday night that his team will host is just the first of 82 regular-season games.
“It’s exciting for the fans. For us, it’s just another game,” Williams said after practice Sunday. “Obviously the hype is building up and it’s all of this hoopla about this game, but it’s just opening night for both teams. I don’t think either team will put extra emphasis on it, but it’s exciting for the fans obviously. And I’m glad that everybody’s excited. I’m glad that it’s in L.A. and I’m part of it, so it’s cool.”
Williams is entering his third season with the Clippers. He spent one-plus seasons with the Lakers before he was traded in 2017 to the Houston Rockets and played in 23 games.
He knows that fans from both sides like to talk trash. When asked what type of conversations he had with the fans from each team, Williams laughed.
“Well, Instagram,” said Williams, referring to the social media site. “Nobody has the heart to walk up to me and say some of the things that they say online.”
Perhaps, then, Williams has a favorite experience from being either with the Clippers or the Lakers.
“Hasn’t even been a big deal to me, honestly,” Williams said smiling.
He paused for just a second and acknowledged that “training camp” has been his best experience with the Clippers and Lakers.
“I’ve went to Hawaii five straight years because the Lakers went for two years and Clippers went for three,” Williams said, laughing. “So that’s it — training camp in Hawaii five straight years.”
The addition of Leonard and George, who is expected to be out until November recovering from surgeries on both his shoulders, to go along with the Williams, Patrick Beverley and Montrezl Harrell, has raised the expectation level for the Clippers to an all-time high for this franchise.
They have been chosen as the favorites to win their first-ever NBA championship in the league’s 18th annual survey of the 30 general managers. The Clippers received 46% of the votes, ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks (36%) and Lakers (11%). Also receiving votes were the Golden State Warriors and Portland Trail Blazers.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers said he “never even saw” the polling that took place.
“Half of the time I don’t even believe what the GMs say,” Rivers said.
He was reminded that he was once in that role of voting when he was president of basketball operations for the Clippers, the position that Lawrence Frank now has.
“That’s my point,” Rivers said, laughing. “But if they picked that, I’m all for the GMs. The GMs are brilliant.”