Magic Johnson, a Hall of Fame guard with the Lakers, had a lot of nice things to say about the team that shares Staples Center but little else with the 16-time NBA champions. Above all, Johnson said the Clippers are legitimate title contenders.
“This team is for real, led by one of the — I think the best point guard we have in the game today, Chris Paul,” Johnson said during a conference call Thursday. “Chris is on a mission to win a championship. That’s the one thing he doesn’t have. I also want to congratulate him on going over 5,000 assists as well.”
“But I think the pieces they added, when you think about Jamal Crawford, you think about guys like Grant Hill … Lamar Odom, these guys,” Johnson added. “That bench is going to be so solid, especially led by (Eric) Bledsoe, who I think is really playing great basketball this season. And they still have to get Mr. Big Shot back into the fold.”
Johnson refered to Chuauncy Billups by his nickname.
“And once he comes back, I think that they are really going to be awesome because I think Chauncey, he’s a guy that’s won a championship, a guy that knows how to perform under that type of pressure and knows how to also lead the team in terms of when Chris is not on the floor,” Johnson said. “They are going to need somebody like Chauncey to continue to lead that team.
“So I like what I’m seeing from the Clippers. I think the one area that they have to improve on is their defense, and once they match the defense with their offense and their fast break, yeah, they can win it all. I mean, you have to think about the play of (DeAndre) Jordan. And I haven’t even mentioned Blake (Griffin). I mean, it’s just tremendous the team that they have, and I’m just blown away by their commitment to each other and their commitment to winning, and this is a serious team.”