How Far Will LA Lakers Go in the NBA Playoffs This Season?

Assuming the Los Angeles Lakers are able to overcome their regular-season struggles and limp into the playoffs, they'll be no more than a first round exit. 

The Lakers are just not a well-constructed basketball team. Even on paper, they don't appear to have the talent most people expected them to have.

Putting aside the chemistry and system issues for the time being, the Lakers have gotten weaker at almost every position.

Although Steve Nash is a clear upgrade offensively to his predecessor, Ramon Sessions, Nash is a much greater defensive liability and his injury woes at the beginning of the season validate preseason concerns regarding his durability. 

An even greater concern than Nash's defensive liability is the lack of depth at the point guard position. Though Steve Blake is a decent backup, his injuries have kept him on the bench, and the backup spot is currently being manned by the aging Chris Duhon and Darius Morris. 

At the shooting guard position, Bryant continues to be the only consistent offense threat on this roster. Scoring 29.8 points per game on a career-high 47.5 shooting percentage, Bryant has focused on being efficient and effective on offense while facing some slippage on the defensive end.

Although the Black Mamba is still averaging 1.5 steals and five rebounds per game and is by no means a defensive liability, he hasn't been able to truly lock down his man for the past two seasons. 

Aside from Bryant and Metta World Peace bringing a measure of consistency on both ends of the court, the power forward and center spots have seen significant downgrades. 

Despite Dwight Howard being hailed as a major upgrade on both ends of the court, his lingering back injuries and recent labrum tear have rendered him a shell of his former self. Although he is still putting up big numbers, he has had to pick his spots and isn't the game-change...

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