1. Los Angeles Lakers- 41-25 (2011-12)
There is not much doubt the Lakers are the class of the Pacific Division, but whether or not they are the class of the entire Western Conference, or the entire NBA for that matter, is yet to be determined.
Two of the biggest questions surrounding the Lakers’ newly formed starting lineup, consisting of Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace, is whether or not the can stay healthy and/or form chemistry.
Thanks to members of both the starting lineup and reserve unit missing time this preseason, the starting five only played one game together, cohesion will likely be lacking heading into the regular season, which begins Tuesday night against the Dallas Mavericks.
Barring a major injury, the Lakers should be ready for a deep playoff run this spring. It’s just going to take a while for the team to start clicking on all cylinders, which could lead to some unexpected, early season losses.
The Lakers were one of the worst three-point shooting teams (25th in three-point percentage) in the league last season, in addition to having one of the worst benches (dead last in scoring in 2011-12).
Jodie Meeks, who is best known for his outside shooting prowess, will look to improve the team’s outside shooting woes and bolster the bench this season, which also boasts the likes Antawn Jamison, Jordan Hill and Devin Ebanks.
If Meeks for some reason can’t find his groove in purple and gold, the team’s bench may struggle to put points on the board for the second straight season.
Key Players: Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash, Dwight Howard
Key Additions: Steve Nash and Dwight Howard
Key Losses: Andrew Bynum
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