The Lakers had arguably one of the best offseasons in NBA history as they completed a trade for formerly disgruntled Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard in August and acquired two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash to be the Lakers' new starting point guard.
As a result of the blockbuster Howard trade, center Andrew Bynum went to the Philadelphia 76ers while guard Christian Eyenga and forward Josh McRoberts were traded to Orlando.
When the dust finally settled on these acquisitions, the Lakers boasted the best starting lineup in the NBA and more depth at point guard in former Magic PG Chris Duhon.
Los Angeles' starting lineup of future Hall of Famers Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant at the point and shooting guard positions, respectively, defensive specialist Metta World Peace at small forward, Pau Gasol at power forward, and the aforementioned Howard at center, look to be formidable opponents to every team in the NBA.
Bryant is playing with the first great point guard in his career in Nash and the Bryant-Howard combination could rival the excellent Bryant-O'Neal tandem from the early 2000's. The Bryant-O'Neal combination brought three championships to Los Angeles from 1996-2004.
I strongly believe Nash and Bryant will work together very well in the backcourt as Nash can routinely set Bryant up to shoot uncontested shots, while Nash is a good shooter in his own right.
How will the Los Angeles Lakers ultimately finish this season?
I consider Nash to be the best Laker point guard since Magic Johnson and even at the relatively old age of 38, Nash is still one of the best floor generals and smartest players overall in the NBA.
Howard is essentially a carbon copy of former center Shaquille O'Neal and will be an invaluable addition to the Lakers this season.
Howard is one of the best defensive centers in the NBA as he has averaged 2.2 blocks per game over his stellar NBA career. The former Magic big man also has an excellent all-around game as he boasts career averages of 18 PPG and 13 RPG. The only concern I have with Howard is his post game arsenal, although that will probably improve with time.
The Lakers have decent depth throughout the roster as well as rookie center Robert Sacre has had a surprisingly good preseason and new acquisition Antawn Jamison can be a difference maker with his versatility at power forward and perhaps a spot start at the three over the inconsistent Metta World Peace.
On paper, the Los Angeles Lakers have without question the best team in the NBA.
The question is, can their dramatically different and superstar-laden roster successfully mesh and produce this season?
Miami's "Big Three had difficulties adjusting to each others style of play initially, although they turned it around eventually as they finished the 2010-11 regular season with a 58-24 record before falling to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals.
Unlike the 2010-11 Miami Heat, I strongly believe that the Lakers will not have those initial issues as their current styles of play already mesh. Nash is a pass-first and unselfish point guard while Bryant is an excellent scorer.
As for Howard, he will get plenty of touches in the post and he will continue to be the dominant defensive force he always has been throughout his career.
I believe the 2012-13 edition of the Los Angeles Lakers will hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy as NBA champions come this June and could have the potential to be the greatest team in NBA history when the curtain falls on this upcoming season.