After struggling to gain any kind of momentum in the regular season a year ago, Mike D’Antoni will have to fuse a plethora of newcomers into an established core of three players—Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash. Granted, Kobe is sidelined indefinitely with the Achilles injury, but he’ll be back.
The revamped roster has already seemed to grasp D’Antoni’s offense better than the 2012-13 team, and Los Angeles is going to rely heavily on that quickly developed chemistry in the absence of its best player.
The games outlined in the following slides will take place over the course of the season’s first two months—with one potential exception—and deal with matchups that the Lakers unquestionably have to come out on top of.
Although it’s a long season, how Los Angeles handles these big games will play a large part in the fate of its 2013-14 campaign.