The Los Angeles Lakers lost some luster after winning back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010, faltering twice in the past two years in the Conference Semifinals, both times against teams that would eventually go on to win the West.
That should all change in 2012-13, as the Lakers have retooled and are looking like the favorites to not only win the conference, but the NBA Finals as well.
Kobe Bryant is still the heart and soul of this team, but he’s got a handful of new teammates, and this is easily the most loaded squad L.A. has had since Shaquille O’Neal, Rick Fox, Derek Fisher, Robert Horry and company were threepeating from 2000 to 2002.
With such a star-studded roster, there is pressure—from fans and the organization—on the Lakers players to produce magnificent results out on the hardwood.
Will they be able to live up to these lofty expectations?
We’ll have to wait until the season tips off on Oct. 30, but until then, let's take a look at whom the Lakers acquired this summer, whom they had to let go, the projected lineup and depth chart, some strengths and weaknesses of the roster, a prediction on how L.A. will finish the season and much more.