The Los Angeles Lakers are looking to bounce back from an injury-riddled and under achieving season. Despite having six former all stars, L.A. had trouble building a squad that can compete for a championship, as they failed to attain any significant success by getting swept in the first round of the playoffs against the San Antonio Spurs.
However, while they lost 7-time all star Dwight Howard and former defensive player of the year Metta World Peace, the storied franchise acquired much needed depth and athleticism this past offseason. Nick Young, Jordan Farmar, Chris Kaman and Wesley Johnson are all expected to be major contributers for L.A. this season.
With Howard gone, the Lakers' chemistry will be much improved. There hopefully won't be as much drama this year.
Nonetheless, the biggest concern for this season are injuries and questionable health issues. Just like last year, the Lakers are potentially looking at major health concerns. Kobe Bryant is currently continuing his recovery from the Achilles injury, and 39-year-old Steve Nash is having his minutes monitored to reduce his chances of getting injured.
However, since the Lakers have a lot more depth and youth, L.A. should be able to limit Pau Gasol, Kobe and Nash's minutes. Bryant averaged a surprising 38.6 minutes last season, and one can argue that if coach Mike D'Antoni reduced his minutes, it may have prevented his Achilles injury.
The Spaniard only played in 49 games because of injuries, but he is looking a lot more healthy during preseason. Nash averaged 32.5 minutes last year, which is a lot considering he is almost turning 40. With a much improved depth chart at the point guard position, the former two-time MVP can afford to cut down his minutes. Steve Blake and Farmar are two respectable point guards that are capable of playing a handful of minutes behind Nash.
Although winning a championship may be a long shot for the Lakers this season, the team can turn some heads and make a run, as long as injuries don't hold the Lakers too far back.
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