The Los Angeles Lakers are just two weeks into their preseason, and already we're learning things about this team we might not have thought about this last spring after they'd been unceremoniously dumped from the playoffs for the second consecutive year.
Talk about turning over a new leaf:
The Lakers have a host of new players, an enormous new television contract and several new high-profile assistant coaches. They even unveiled hip new flooring at Staples Center last Saturday when they played the Utah Jazz in a meaningless exhibition game.
What's not new is the way L.A.'s second unit is unable to hold any sort of lead, having blown three second-half advantages on their way to three consecutive preseason losses.
In what will certainly be one of the most entertaining, dramatic and potentially dynamic seasons in recent memory, the Lakers are already laying out plot lines that have their fans and detractors emailing, texting, calling and pontificating.
Kobe Bryant has plenty of reasons to be smiling, even if Dwight Howard has not played yet and the Lakers have lost all three exhibition games. The Black Mamba has more weapons surrounding him than ever before and he has Steve Nash to orchestrate it all.
We learned that Kobe still thinks very little of Smush Parker, but frankly that ranks low on the list of what's truly important. What truly matters for this year's team is taking place at its training facility and on the court during this momentous preseason.
Let's take a look.