With the offseason acquisitions of Steve Nash and Dwight Howard, the Los Angeles Lakers are now considered favorites in the Western Conference. Alongside the Oklahoma City Thunder, last season’s Western Champs, and perhaps the aging San Antonio Spurs, the Lakers are expected to be serious contenders for the West in the race for the 2012-13 NBA Championship.
Adding a veteran point guard in Nash and the league's best center in Howard to a team that already possessed Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol makes the Lakers a daunting task for any team to face. Still, there are some quietly solid Western Conference squads who should give the Lakers a challenge this season.
While the Lakers will end up in the top two in the West when the playoffs come around, these six teams will be surprisingly resilient and will give Los Angeles some tough games. Let’s check out six squads in the Western Conference that could pose tough matchups for the Lakers this season.