Previews

NBA season preview: Los Angeles Lakers

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 04: D'Angelo Russell #1 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots against Kyle Korver #26 of the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on December 4, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

STAYING: Tarik Black, Anthony Brown, Jordan Clarkson, Marcelo Huertas, Larry Nance Jr,  Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell, Louis Williams and Nick Young.

ADDED: Jose Manuel Calderon (New York), Brandon Ingram (Duke), Luol Deng (Miami), Timofey Mozgov (Cleveland) and Ivica Zubac (Mega Leks).

GONE: Brandon Bass (LA Clippers), Kobe Bryant, Roy Hibbert (Charlotte), Ryan Kelly, Robert Sacre (New Orleans) and Metta World Peace.

STRENGTHS: Super interesting young nucleus with the likes of D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle … They ooze with talent and have been surrounded with heady veterans like Luol Deng and Jose Calderon, who should bring much-needed mentorship, professionalism and experience to that locker room … Deng has had a lot of success transitioning for the small forward to the power forward spot … They are in a pretty good spot in terms of quickness and athleticism … New culture under Luke Walton, who will probably see more eye-to-eye with the team’s young players … They can’t possibly be as dysfunctional as they’ve been in the past few years.

WEAKNESSES: They are not in win-now mode … The first season after the Kobe Bryant era should be about developing young talent … There will be a lot of mistakes borne out of inexperience … Bad decision-making plagued the team last year and there will be a lot of that this season too … Having so many players looking to establish themselves in the league typically doesn’t translate into unselfish play … Defensive effort and focus can only improve, but you can count on the Lakers being one of the worst clubs in the NBA in those areas … Not that they have great defensive personnel, anyway, especially at the guard positions … Not enough shooters, although they will probably hit more than 31.7 percent of their three-point attempts this time  … Can Timofey Mozgov succeed where Roy Hibbert failed? … Based on his recent injury problems, perhaps not.

PREDICTION: 4th in the Pacific Division, 13th in the Western Conference.

SALARIES:

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