Expected to be a bottom feeder, the Lakers have been able to maximize the limited amount of talent on their team in order to remain a force in the Western Conference. Playing up-tempo basketball when they can and thriving in half-court sets with a bevy of capable ball-handlers, the Lakers' versatility has been a great asset for them.
Another key to their unexpected success thus far has been their bench production. With no apparent drop-off once they hit their bench, the Lakers are first in the league in bench points with close to 48 per game.
Almost every player on the roster has played a major role in filling in the gaping holes left by the departures of Dwight Howard, Metta World Peace, Antawn Jamison and Earl Clark.
Although the playoffs are still a stretch, the fact they are within striking distance without Bryant having played a single game shows they have the potential to be very dangerous once he does return. Each player on the roster has a defined role, and they are going about their business without any drama.
Each player will be graded on their performance based on individual expectations and ranked based on their importance to the Lakers' success thus far. Keep in mind that just because a player receives a high grade based on meeting expectations doesn't mean they will be given a high ranking based on overall important to the team's success.
Stats are accurate as of December 3, 2013.