Presuming that Kobe Bryant being a 27-point per game scorer is at least a few months away, the Los Angeles Lakers must find a way to make up almost one-third of an offense that last season averaged just over 102 points en route to making the NBA playoffs as a seventh seed.
To say it won't be easy would be the understatement of the week.
No one can really replace Bryant, who not only scores a lot of points but is also known as one of the fiercest competitors and best closers in the game.
For the time being, the Lakers and head coach Mike D'Antoni need to figure out how best to make use of the more than 20 shots per game that No. 24 averaged. Expect to see more players involved in the offense.
Even though the Mike D'Antoni-led Lakers never quite incorporated his signature "seven seconds or less" offense last season, the team still had 94.4 offensive possessions per 48 minutes, sixth-highest in the NBA, according to Basketball-Reference.com.
The offseason brought a handful of free-agent signings who fit the mold of the athletic, uptempo offense D'Antoni so embraces. Nick Young, Jordan Farmar, Wesley Johnson, Elias Harris, Marcus Landry, Shawne Williams and Xavier Henry join Jodie Meeks, Steve Blake and Steve Nash as perimeter guards and wings who will succeed if the offense flows and the shots drop.
If nothing else, the first few preseason games have shown that this Lakers team will be an entertaining one, capable of scoring big points in bunches.
Henry, for instance, dropped 29 in his Lakers debut last week, and already the 6'6" shooting guard is being compared to such superstar PGs as James Harden of the Houston Rockets. That may be pushing it, but Henry does appear to be a wild-card star-in-the-making for L.A.
Now is the time when players can make their mark on the Lakers offense. L.A. still may not break the 40-win barrier this season, but there could be new stars who emerge in Bryant's absence. Let's see if they have what it takes to keep the buckets coming while Kobe watches and waits.