Who Are These 2013-'14 Lakers?!
A team that boasted a starting lineup of Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard?! How could that not work?
Well - when Nash plays half the season, Kobe tears his achilles and Dwight isn't the same coming off back surgery the year before, things just aren't as they seem on paper. There is also the small issue of Dwight and Kobe, who's style of play and general outlook on life conflicted from the moment D12 arrived.
Then there's the Lakers head coach. Mike D'Antoni clearly wasn't made for this job - but Jim Buss wanted to create a legacy of his own, even if it meant running his team into the ground - temporarily.
The Lakers of 2013-'14 will look a lot different than the team we have grown accustomed to seeing. First and foremost, Kobe will be fresh off his first major injury of his career. Rehabilitating and coming back from a torn achilles isn't a cakewalk. But who would be shocked to see Kobe do it with style and grace? Probably no one. That dude is a straight machine.
As for the rest of this squad; newcomers in Chris Kaman, Nick Young, Wesley Johnson and the return of former local favorite, Jordan Farmar will round out this team's bench.
Most remember Young for his part in the epic 27-point comeback victory by the Los Angeles Clippers over the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2011-'12 playoffs. Kaman played center for the Clippers for eight of his ten seasons as a pro. Wesley Johnson has largely been a disappointment in the league ever since he was taken 4th overall by Minnesota out of Syracuse.
With Pau Gasol and Steve Nash the remaining notable names along with Kobe, this team will more than likely remain in the bottom half of the West this season, however, with many players' salaries off the books following this season, the Lakers have put themselves in a good position financially to be major players in a massive free agent class.
Just don't expect to enjoy this season...