Complete Breakdown of Expectations and Roles for New-Look Los Angeles Lakers

Dwight Howard. Steve Nash. Antawn Jamison. The Princeton offense.

Aside from the excitement of newly-revived NBA title expectations, what does it all mean for the Los Angeles Lakers?

For one, it means (or should mean) less time with the ball for Kobe Bryant, which is a good thing for all parties involved.

Not that the Black Mamba isn't still an excellent, if not elite, player. If there's anything Kobe proved last season—his 16th in the league—it's that he can hang with the young guns who've encroached on and seized ownership of his perch atop the basketball hierarchy. He nearly led The Association in scoring, at 27.9 points per game, and was right up there in minutes per game and shots.

Despite being 33 (now 34) and despite coming into last season with a bum wrist.

At times, the results were spectacular, like when the Mamba dropped 40 points in four consecutive games in January. At other times...well, not so much, as in the 30.9 points per game he averaged in seven playoff defeats.

Now, there are no excuses for Bryant. He may still believe he's the best player on the floor at any given moment, but he'd be foolish (if not downright delusional) to imagine that he doesn't have teammates to whom he can and should defer for the good of the team. In that sense, GM Mitch Kupchak's moves have rendered Kobe less a savior and more a potential scapegoat if things don't work out.

As much of a scapegoat as anyone with five rings can be in the eyes of L.A. sports fans, anyway.

Kobe will still have his fair share of chances to be Kobe on the court, though. As Grantland's Sebastian Pruiti points out, the Princeton offense that former Washington Wizards head coach Eddie Jordan is expected to install leaves plenty of leeway for isolation opportunities, perhaps even ones that would ease Kobe's burden. The constant cutting and movement that the Princeton offense requires will...

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