October 31, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul (3) goes in for a shot against the Memphis Grizzlies during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

Faces of LA Lakers' & Clippers' Face-Off Very Different

October 30, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard (12) drives to the basket in between Dallas Mavericks small forward Jae Crowder (9) and center Eddy Curry (52) in the second half of the game at the Staples Center. Dallas won 99-91. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

The Lakers and Clippers were both expected to be two of the best teams in the Western Conference in 2012-13. But a little over one year ago both of these teams looked much different than they do now, but they could have looked much different still.

Before acquiring Chris Paul the Clippers had Blake Griffin. . .and that was it. Chris Kaman, Eric Gordon, Al Faroq Aminu, and Mo Williams were the starters.

As for the Lakers, Dwight Howard finally ended his trade pleas and threats of free agency when he actually joined the Lakers this off-season, and he joined up with point guard Steve Nash who surprisingly signed with his long time rival too.

But Steve Nash wasn’t expected to be the point guard of the Lakers . . . it was Chris Paul. Before David Stern, the defacto GM of the Hornets, blocked Paul’s trade for Pau Gasol, Chris Paul was supposed to be sporting the purple and gold tonight, not the Clippers red and blue.

Now the Clippers have one of the best rosters in the league with starters Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, Chauncey Billups and Caron Butler backing up Griffin.

The Lakers lineup wen’t unchanged for the 2011-12 season, but it almost was Paul, Bryant, Andrew Bynum, and World Peace. There is nothing to say that the Lakers still wouldn’t have made a move for Dwight Howard this season. Especially since Marc Spears had it confirmed earlier this week by Chris Paul and Dwight Howard that they were planning on teaming up since as early as 2009.

Regardless of what could have happened, we know which players are taking the court tonight for which teams. But we still have big questions about how these teams will fare throughout the course of the long NBA season. Both teams and coaching staffs could look a lot different 2 months from now, let’s say on January 4th, the next time these two teams meet.

Tags: Chris Paul Dwight Howard Los Angeles Clippers Los Angeles Lakers

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