Lakers News: 5 Returning Lakers Who Need to Raise Their Game in 2012-13

For the Lakers and their fans, last season was a time of frustration, letdowns and disappointments. Their coach could not figure out a rotation, their bench could not make a three-pointer and the team could not close out a game.

Mitch Kupchak was put on the hot seat as Los Angeles demanded a fresh start. People were beyond frustrated and many demanded the breakup of the Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum tandem.

Even Kobe Bryant and his cap-shattering contract were called into question as media outlets debated and pondered the possibility of a Bryant amnesty. 

Well, three heart-pounding months later, Lakers fans have had their demands met in the most unimaginable and unfathomable of ways.

Gone is Andrew Bynum, Josh McRoberts, Christian Eyenga, Matt Barnes, Troy Murphy and four draft picks.

Say hello to Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Antawn Jamison, Jodie Meeks, Chris Duhon and Earl Clark.


If this is not an incredible, one-sided overhaul, then I don't know what is.

Try pulling off this trade in NBA 2K13 and see how far you get. Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss accomplished what even a video game fanatic could not do without adjusting the game settings to cheater mode.

And many wonder why Lakers fans have come to expect All-Star players in exchange for bits and shreds?

Now, let them wonder no more.

So, with all the pieces set in place for a title run, there are five key players who must elevate their game in order for this team to live up to the championship standard the basketball world has set.

This season is win-or-bust, do-or-die, all-or-nothing.

Let's take a look at some players who will be pivotal to the success of next season and beyond.

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