ESPN analysts debate Steph-Klay-Draymond vs. LeBron-AD star matchup

ESPN analysts debate Steph-Klay-Draymond vs. LeBron-AD star matchup originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

As the Warriors prepare to face the Los Angeles Lakers in a primetime showdown with playoff implications on Tuesday night at Arena, ESPN analysts Kendrick Perkins and Richard Jefferson believe Los Angeles has a better core group of players than Golden State.

During a segment on Tuesday's “NBA Today,” Perkins explained that Lakers center Anthony Davis has been playing at an incredibly high level over the past season and a half.

“I don’t think people realize how long he’s [Davis] been on this streak of being available and playing at an elite level,” Perkins said. “This didn’t just start at training camp, this started last season after the All-Star break when Anthony Davis had to carry the load while LeBron James was out to even get the Lakers into the play-in and into the postseason where they made a run to the Western Conference finals.

“Now coming back into this season, Anthony Davis has been available, he has embraced the center position, and he has been dominating on both ends of the floor. Any matchup outside [Nikola] Jokić or [Domantas] Sabonis, I love Anthony Davis when he’s in it.”

Piling on, Jefferson shared his opinion on the Warriors' core players, stating that with Klay Thompson and Draymond Green falling off over the years, the team’s vaunted “Big 3” is down only to Steph Curry, who still is performing at a high level.

“I would say this about the Warriors: Right now, there is no 'Big 3,' there’s a 'Big Me,' " Jefferson said.

“There is a “Big Me” and that is Steph Curry. And they’re still trying to figure out the other two because they are not -- Draymond and Klay -- they are not the same as they were when they were winning championships.

“Those two are different, Steph feels the same, that’s why I say they’re not currently a Big 3, they need to do it as a collective effort, hence the Andrew Wiggins conversation and all the other ancillary parts they need for them to be successful.”

Much has been made of the Warriors' struggles this season as it clings to the No. 10 seed in the Western Conference standings heading into the final stretch of the regular season.

Golden State has struggled on offense behind Steph Curry, with Klay Thompson still struggling to produce consistent shooting numbers. While the Warriors have flashed brilliance occasionally, numerous blown leads and backbreaking losses have led the team to its current position.

The Lakers also have struggled through stretches of the NBA season but given the otherworldly play of Davis and James and its better overall season record, the team has a much better chance of moving up the standings than the Warriors.

If the standings were to hold, the Warriors would head to Los Angeles to face the Lakers in a play-in game, with the loser being eliminated from the playoffs, a precarious position to be in for Golden State considering the potential of a James-Davis supernova performance.

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