And while it might seem disheartening—for the other four teams in the division, anyway—that the Lakers are typically inked into the division's No. 1 spot at the beginning of every season, it's worth noting that the Clippers, Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns and Sacramento Kings all made up a ton of ground on the Lakers last year.
In 2010-11, the Lakers won the division by 17 games over Phoenix. Last year, the difference between the Lakers and the last-place Kings was just 19 games. So while the division hasn't exactly been a model of parity, Los Angeles does have a few division rivals that are growing in the rear-view.
Of course, Kobe and Co. didn't stand pat during this past offseason. The starting lineup now boasts the league's best center in Dwight Howard and a Hall of Fame point guard in Steve Nash.
But the rest of the division made some tweaks, too.
The Clippers brought back reclamation project Lamar Odom, while the Warriors will feature Andrew Bogut and a (theoretically) healthy Stephen Curry. The Suns blew the whole thing up, and the Kings used their lottery pick on Kansas' Thomas Robinson, who should help immediately.
With so many moving parts and plenty of new question marks, is it possible the Lakers won't end the 2012-13 season with a Pacific Division title?
Here's how the Lakers stack up against each of their division rivals.