British basketball star Luol Deng has backed the LA Clippers to win the 2019-20 NBA title.
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Speaking to Sky Sports NBA at the Best of Africa Awards in London – where he received a Lifetime Achievement award – the 15-year NBA veteran said the Clippers, who paired All-Stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in free agency, are his pick to win the NBA championship.
“It’s going to be an exciting season,” he said. “The attention around the league right now is exciting because of so many superstars teaming up together. Free agency was huge. The Clippers, with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George going there, are going to be so strong. They have a tough bench.
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“If all teams stay healthy, I’ll take the Clippers [to win the NBA championship]. Kawhi and George, defensively, create a lot of problems [for opponents]. In Lou Williams, they have one of the best bench scorers in the league.
“They’ve put the pieces together. Their second unit… last year, the Clippers were amazing without Leonard and George. With those two guys joining them, if everything goes as it should, the Clippers will be winners.”
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Leonard and George were not the only NBA superstar duo to form in the offseason. The Lakers paired Anthony Davis with LeBron James, Russell Westbrook joined James Harden in Houston and Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant teamed up with the Brooklyn Nets. All to the delight of Deng.
“This is the best time for the league,” he said. “The superstars are teaming up together and it’s not just one team doing it. We are seeing it all over the league. There are so many good players now you’re going to see two or three [superstars] in every team.”
Luol Deng in action for the Chicago Bulls against the Indiana Pacers
Deng played for 10 NBA seasons with the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference. While his former team remain in a state of rebuilding, Deng believes the Milwaukee Bucks will emerge as the East’s best team.
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“I think a lot of people are sleeping on Milwaukee,” he said. “They will get better from their experience last year, having the best regular-season record in the NBA and going to the Eastern Conference Finals.
“I think mentally they will be better. It always takes a team a couple of times before they get there [to the Finals].”
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