Clippers vs Lakers: Who has the better starting 5?

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 25: Reggie Jackson #1 of the Los Angeles Clippers fails to get the ball past half court against Austin Reaves #15 and Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the fourth quarter at Crypto.com Arena on February 25, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 25: Reggie Jackson #1 of the Los Angeles Clippers fails to get the ball past half court against Austin Reaves #15 and Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the fourth quarter at Crypto.com Arena on February 25, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /
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Reggie Jackson and Russell Westbrook
Reggie Jackson and Russell Westbrook (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /

Reggie Jackson

2021-22 season stats: 16.8 ppg, 4.8 apg, 3.6 rpg

Discarded and left on the side of the road in Detroit, Reggie Jackson has found his game in LA. With Kawhi Leonard forced to miss the entire season as he tended to a torn ACL, Jackson proved that he was more than capable of shouldering a bigger load on the offensive end.

Throughout the course of the season, Jackson dropped 16.8 points per game while dishing out 4.8 assists on a nightly basis. Yet, despite the stellar numbers, Jackson struggled once he was thrust into the spotlight, finishing the year with a field goal percentage of just 39.2%.

Ultimately, Jackson’s role on the Clippers will take a considerable hit next season. The proliferation of healthy bodies will take the ball out of Jackson’s hands for long stretches, rendering him obsolete at times. Jackson will undoubtedly hold a salient role with the Clippers, but he’ll be forced to take a back seat.

Russell Westbrook

2021-22 season stats: 18.5 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 7.1 apg

The trumpets and bells that were used to coronate Russell Westbrook’s arrival in LA quickly turned to relentless boo’s from Lakers fans.

Once viewed as a nightly triple-double threat and explosive offensive option, Westbrook struggled to mesh with his new teammates on the floor. However, much of Westbrook’s maligned turnovers and poor shot selection were overblown.

Westbrook’s season averages of 44.4% from the field and 29.8% from the 3-point line, fell right on par with his career averages. Throughout his Hall of Fame bound career, Westbrook has shot 43.8% from the field and 30.5% from behind the arc. His scoring numbers, on the other hand, took a drastic hit. The multiple-time All-Star’s 18.5 points per game were his lowest since his second season in the league.

Regardless of his dwindling scoring production, Westbrook still played hard on a nightly basis, resulting in 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists.

The high-flying acrobatics that Westbrook has built his career on are long gone. But, even while grounded, the 33-year-old fills the stat sheets like no other.

Verdict: Lakers

The consistent chastisement of Westbrook’s play was well deserved but let’s not get carried away here. Even with his numbers steadily declining, Jackson has never produced the sort of stat line that Westbrook did last season.

Currently, it appears as though the Lakers are willing to give Westbrook another try. Clippers fans can laugh and heckle him all they want, Westbrook is still far and away a much better player than Reggie Jackson.