Reason #1: The Kings have a clear hierarchy
Pairing four of the brightest stars of their generation is often easier said than done. Yes, it can be a dangerous combination, but it can also cause internal problems, especially in the beginning.
Leonard, George, Westbrook, and Harden all like to have the ball in their hands. They are all used to being a top-two guy on a team, but there can’t be four top-two guys. Westbrook learned to take a step back in certain situations last season, and Harden turned into more of a playmaker when paired with Joel Embiid, but as of now, this Clippers squad has no clear hierarchy. That could cause plenty of trouble.
Who gets the ball in crunch time? Leonard or George? Who acts as the main facilitator? Harden or Westbrook? Who takes a step back to let someone else shine? These are just some of the questions the Clippers have to answer now and that might very well give them a disadvantage compared to other forces in the West.
The Kings, for example, have a clear pecking order, and everyone knows their role. Domantas Sabonis is the offensive hub and facilitator. Malik Monk is the sixth man and brings energy off the bench, but can take over games if needed. Kevin Huerter and Keegan Murray get plenty of shots but they both know that when it comes down to the wire, De’Aaron Fox will be the one with the ball in his hands.
Everyone knows exactly what is expected from them and when they have to step up their game. The Kings may not have as many stars as the Clippers, but sometimes having plenty of players who can be stars in their roles is more important.
Look at the Nuggets, for one. They just won the championship with 1 MVP candidate, 1 All-Star caliber player, and a bunch of guys who played their roles perfectly and did everything the team needed from them.