Patrick Beverley: Clippers Better Than Warriors When Healthy

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJuly 6, 2018

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 9: Patrick Beverley #21 of the LA Clippers reacts to a play during the game against the New Orleans Pelicans on April 9, 2018 at STAPLES Center 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Patrick Beverley either believes the Los Angeles Clippers are the best team in the NBA, or he maintains one heck of a straight face while telling a joke.

Speaking to TMZ Sports, Beverley ranked the NBA's upper echelon as follows: "Clippers first. Clippers when we're healthy, and then second it has to be Golden State, because they are the champions."

Beverley also called himself and backcourt partner Avery Bradley the best defenders in the NBA—"that's like two Gary Paytons playing with each other," he said—and cited Danilo Gallinari, Tobias Harris and Lou Williams as reasons why the Clippers deserve to be considered among the top teams in the league.

Finally, when asked if he thought the team was getting Kawhi Leonard via trade, Beverley suggested the Clippers would be all right without him.

"I like the team we have now," he said. "If we don't [get Leonard], we don't. We'd be glad to have him, but I like the team we have now."

Let's examine some of these claims. First, are the Clippers a superteam, and should fans expect them to be better than the Warriors?

Well, the Warriors have won three of the last four NBA titles (been to four straight). The Clippers have never won a championship. Steph Curry and Kevin Durant have won three MVPs between them. No player on the Clippers has ever won MVP. Five current Warriors played in the All-Star Game last year. No current Clippers were All-Stars last season.

In fact, no current player on the Clippers has ever been an All-Star.

Beverley's assertions about the defensive prowess of he and Bradley, however, holds more water. Beverley was a first-team All-Defensive selection in the 2016-17 season and second-team in 2013-14. Bradley was first-team All-Defensive in 2015-16 and second-team in 2012-13. Together, they'll be a suffocating pair for opposing guards to face.

Adding Leonard to that mix would make the Clippers a defensive nightmare (two-time Defensive Player of the Year), though the team doesn't have the valuable assets to offer in a trade with San Antonio that the Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers or Boston Celtics could make available.

Even without him, the Clippers have a solid team. They should at least be in the running for a playoff spot in the loaded Western Conference. But comparing them to the Warriors?

Well, it's hard to do that with a straight face.