The Los Angeles Lakers enter the 2012-13 season with a revamped roster and renewed purpose.
While the Lakers are always a team looking to finish the season winning their last game, heading into 2012-13 they've built a roster that can actually achieve that goal. From starters to bench, the team offers both top-end talent and dependable depth that can guide them through an arduous 82-game campaign. Combine this group of players with an improved coaching staff, and the front office has also added the sideline leaders the team needs to improve upon past season's failures.
But, with such talented new additions come expectations.
This team will be expected to achieve certain milestones throughout the season in order to be viewed as a group that reached their ceiling. Not doing so means falling short in some way—it means they've left something on the table that was theirs to be had.
And make no mistake, these expectations come with burdens attached—burdens that can weigh heavily and serve as distractions ready to derail the Lakers off their path to reach their ultimate goals.
Will this team be mentally strong enough to deal with them? Will they have the chemistry to overcome the outsiders looking in on them, attempting to hold them to such high standards? Will they have the focus, as individuals and as a group, to persevere through a long regular season and playoff push to achieve the levels they hope to?
If you're a Lakers fan, the hope is yes, but it is in no way a given.
Especially when remembering that only a handful of these men know what it means to carry the torch of being a Laker. Every day they'll be tested on and off the court in playing for the NBA's marquee franchise, while trying to win at the highest level.
With that in mind, let's countdown the top seven expectations the Lakers have in the 2012-13 season.