2013-14 Los Angeles Lakers Season Preview

USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers are set to rebuild, but will Kobe Bryant let them?

In their history in Los Angeles there has been nothing bigger than the Lakers.  Market dominance.  They've shone brighter than the Raiders and the Rams when they were there, reigned over the Dodgers when they were a World Series champion.

Even if you are not a sports fan you know about the Lakers.   They are one of the five most iconic franchises, not only in America, but in the world. If the Lakers are not in the chase for a championship then it is a failed season.

Los Angeles is in disarray if there is no championship parade in June. They don't know what to do. They're on talk radio talking about what players need to be traded, what coach needs to come in and why they should become the new general manager.

This season though, the Lakers are in the uncomfortable position of being the team in LA that isn't expected to compete for championship, but actually competing for lottery balls.

Head Coach: Mike D'Antoni is back for another season. There won't be any fighting with Dwight Howard this year and he can actually use Steve Nash and Pau Gasol in a very lethal pick and roll until Kobe Bryant comes back from injury.

This is probably going to D'Antoni's toughest coaching job to date. He has two hall of famers both recovering from injuries, a suddenly aging Pau Gasol, a few lottery busts and retreads. Early in the season there is going to be little to no chemistry and there is going to be a huge learning curve.

D'Antoni is going to have make sure the guys integrate into his system and then integrate into Kobe's system when he returns from injury. It's not going to be easy.

Dan D'Antoni, Kurt Rambis, Mark Madsen and Larry Lewis fill out the coaching staff this year for the Lakers.

Last Season's Record: 45-37

Player Losses: Metta World Peace was amnestied from his contract, while former Duke Blue Devil, Chris Duhon was released from his contract. Earl Clark signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Dwight Howard bolted to the Houston Rockets in free agency.

Player Additions: The Lakers drafted center, Ryan Kelly out of Duke and then signed Nick Young, Chris Kaman, Wesley Johnson and Jordan Farmar during free agency.

Best Player: Unless you ask Michael Jordan the answer is Kobe Bryant. We all know his accolades, his five rings and his quest to get at least a sixth. It's going to be interesting to see what type of player he is when he returns from the most devastating injury of his career. I'm sure he'll come back with a few new tricks and moves to up his game.

Worst Player: Well they just signed Dan Gadzuric to be the fifth center on the roster. I'm pretty sure he won't be on the roster in a few weeks. Darius Johnson-Odom and Shawne Williams are the runners-up.

Player due to breakthrough: Every team usually has one guy on a roster ready to break out. I could say maybe Wesley Johnson, but I think he maxed out last year in Phoenix. Could be Jordan Hill, but he won't stay healthy long enough to peak or breakthrough. Maybe Nick Young? But we already know who he is, what he does and how well he does it.

The Starters: We know Steve Nash is going to be running the point, the aforementioned Nick Young will be at the two until Kobe gets back, Wesley Johnson seems like the choice at small forward, Jordan Hill at power forward and Pau Gasol at center.

The Bench: Steve Blake will back up Nash, Jodie Meeks will be the main backup at the two until Kobe returns, Elias Harris, Ryan Kelly and Chris Kaman should take up most of the reserve minutes in the front court.

Random Seattle Connection: I tried my best to find one and I couldn't.

Best Case Scenario for the Season: The Lakers start off 0-12, Nash gets "injured" and Pau is traded for another first round pick. Kobe sits out the year and the Lakers end up with two lottery picks and a ton of cap room heading into the summer of 2014 and find a way to land Lebron James in the end.

Worst Case Scenario for the Season: Kobe continues to be a freak of nature and heals faster than a normal human being, but he's lost a step and a half, the rest of the world sees this, but he doesn't. Kobe puts up pedestrian numbers, but pulls enough big games out that the Lakers squeeze into the eighth seed, but get swept in the first round - again.

Most Likely Scenario for the Season: It's going to honestly be a combination of best case/worst case. The Lakers are going to start slow without Kobe, find a bit of a groove, beat some of the terrible teams in the league, Kobe will come back, there'll be another adjustment period and the season will end with the Lakers out of the playoffs and in the lottery.

Projection: 31-51

Atlantic Division

Boston Celtics: CelticsBlog | Celtics Green | LucidSportsFan | CLNS Radio | Celtic Fan Chat | Truth On Causway | Sonics Rising
Brooklyn Nets: Nets Daily | Baller Mind Frame
New York Knicks: Posting and Toasting
Philadelphia 76ers:†Liberty Ballers
Toronto Raptors:†Raptors HQ

Pacific Division

Golden State Warriors: Golden State of Mind
Los Angeles Clippers: Clips Nation
Los Angeles Lakers: Silver Screen and Roll
Phoenix Suns:†Bright Side of the Sun
Sacramento Kings:†Sactown Royalty |†Baller Mind Frame

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