The Los Angeles Lakers may not approach the 45 wins they mustered during the soap opera that was their 2012-13 season, but a few new additions (and one massive subtraction) should lead to a few isolated improvements.
Dwight Howard is gone, Kobe Bryant might never be what he was and everybody still thinks Mike D'Antoni has a lot to prove. Those are real problems that will absolutely have a negative impact on L.A.'s bottom line.
But the team's stopgap offseason additions should shore up a couple of weaknesses while also allowing for the existence of a nontoxic locker room. After a season filled with infighting and unrest, better team chemistry could go a long way toward making an otherwise tough upcoming year bearable for the Lakers and their fans.
Make no mistake: This season doesn't matter to the Lakers. Instead, it amounts to nothing more than the 82-game waiting period that stands between them and the 2014 free-agent class.
This is a team that is clearly taking the long view of things. In the meantime, let's examine a few ways in which the Purple and Gold could get better in the short term.