There is an unfamiliar air of uncertainty with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Lakers are far from the team that they were just a year ago. Personnel moves, roster and coaching staff alike, have the entire organization in a controlled and comfortable disarray, and there are still possible moves to be made.
Some are even questioning the team's playoffs chances, but most won't take the situation that far.
In a shortened season, there are numerous questions that will surround all the teams in the NBA. The elite teams will always be put under a microscope and the Lakers are familiar with the territory.
Here are seven of the biggest questions facing the Lakers for the 2011-2012 season.
Derek Fisher is trustworthy with the ball, knocks down open threes and jumpers and has taken great care of his body. On the court and in the locker room, Fisher's leadership is unquestioned.
All the niceties mentioned above stop when it comes to his age. Running and gunning the floor against Rajon Rondo, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul and Derron Williams will not happen with Fisher.
Fisher slows the tempo on offense and it's is harder for him to transition quickly to defense. Let alone plant his feet and have to defend one on one.
Maybe Steve Blake will get his mojo back this year, but who knows?
The Oklahoma City Thunder recently waived Nate Robinson, who can run and score, and Mo Williams is in the right building but the wrong team right now, playing a back up role for the Clippers.
Can we make a decision please?
Apparently, Metta World Peace, formerly Ron Artest, had his best season when Lakers head coach Mike Brown was an assistant for the Indiana Pacers.
If so, why does he seem so confused as of now? In the triangle offense with Phil Jackson, World Peace always seemed confused but within the challenging offense run by Jackson, who could blame him.
Hopefully Brown can turn that around quickly, because right now, World Peace is still a fourth, maybe fifth scoring option and to top it all off, he's coming off the bench.
World Peace is still running with heavy feet and clearly confused as to if he should shoot the three, isolation and drive or turn his back and post up. He usually goes with the fourth and seemingly only option—just stand there and see what happens with everybody else.
World Peace to his credit seems very, very calm. Personally for himself and what we know about him, that is a good thing. But when he's playing, without question his face shows him thinking a zillion and one things, from basketball to newly found readings to why on earth did I go on that dance show?
Troy Murphy had good numbers in Indiana.
Josh McRoberts seems to have taken to the Lakers' gameplan like a fish to water.
Devin Ebanks was in Los Angeles last year and Darius Morris has an aura of confidence.
Which one will knock down open jumpers in critical moments?
Who will get key rebounds and not turn the ball over?
Will they all be professional enough to handle a certain superstars attitude and play the role they are asked?
Only time will tell.
Can Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol really be comfortable still not knowing if they will be in Los Angeles for the season?
Gasol was the city's savior a few years ago, but many Lakers fans and people within the organization have had a changed heart about him. His skill set and basketball IQ are still unmatched, no matter what anyone says, and the continued talk of Gasol being soft or having a bad playoff run are vastly overrated.
Bynum is still technically injury-prone, but his length and intensity when he's focused are incomparable.
The reality is, having Bynum and Gasol in the post both offensive and defensively is a tremendous asset. Only the New York Knicks can match-up with the two seven footers at this point and offensively, the Knicks still lose that battle.
Will Bynum, Gasol or both be traded soon, if at all?
Losing both big men would just further deplete a shaken up roster, but only Mitch Kupchak knows.
Being a head coach has to be one of the hardest jobs in sports. For Lakers coach Mike Brown, being head coach in a city like Los Angeles isn't anywhere near the atmosphere he had in Cleveland.
Brown has an aura and energy of being able to handle problems with clarity and not much confrontation, but again, Los Angeles is different.
In sports, from the kids to the pros, there are locker room spats and a lot of behind the scenes that the general public doesn't see. How will Brown adapt and adjust to the spotlight of Los Angeles if the Lakers are playing below standards, while the city (and building) sharing Clippers could possibly be buzzing and chasing a championship?
And if the Lakers situation does start to play out in worst-case-scenario, how will Brown deal with a seasoned veteran and superstar in Kobe Bryant who is known to defy the team atmosphere and criteria?
The Los Angeles Lakers as a team and with Brown as coach will, more than likely, play out in a positive way, but these are potential problems to look forward too.
Brown seems all in for the ride, good or bad. Brown's best bet is to remember that the city of Los Angeles will love you Sunday and hate you all week, starting Monday.
Kobe Bryant has said all the right things up to this point, but doesn't he always?
Is there going to be that moment in the Lakers season where KB24 decides it's Black Mamba time and he's going to takeover?
Bryant doesn't seem to mind taking 40 shots if he feels the need to, and will simply ignore and not include anybody else in the ballgame. Ask Metta World Peace, who stands open in the corner looking like a kid that just lost his puppy waiting on a Bryant pass that never comes.
There are moments when it's Kobe time. Bryant has earned that right. But he's so tempermental, it comes with and without notice. Lakers fans, players and coaches are accustomed to this. When Smush Parker and Kwame Brown wore purple and gold it was understandable, but that was years ago and now, things are much different for the Lakers.
Bryant was triple teamed against the Chicago Bulls on Christmas, and we saw how that turned out. It's only one game and Derrick Rose closed it out with his trademark floater but again, Kobe was triple teamed and never really looked up for anybody.
There are only 65 more games on the schedule, but this will probably be a long season in Lakerland if something doesn't happen soon.
All the Lakers personnel moves go through Mitch Kupchak.
If Kupchak is trying to get Dwight Howard, he needs to do it soon.
If Kupchak is trying to get another point guard, he needs to do it soon.
With the changes the title-contending NBA teams have made and comparing this year's Lakers to teams of the past, this team screams early exit from the playoffs.
Kupchak has pulled off some miracles in the past, but even if he's able to pull off a trade for Howard, the roster may be so depleted that it's a matter of waiting until next year for another serious run at a championship.