Los Angeles Lakers 2013-14 Season Preview: Key Narratives, Predictions & More

Expectations for NBA championships have surrounded the Lakers almost perennially during Kobe Bryant’s career, but this season has many figuring the Lakers won’t even make the playoffs—in part because of Bryant’s recovery from a torn Achilles tendon which he injured in April. Lakers fans will be eager to see Bryant, 35, bounce back, but other keys to the team’s fortunes will be Pau Gasol returning to elite form and the roster showing vastly improved comfort with Mike D’Antoni’s spread-floor style.

2012-13 Recap:

45-37

Third in Pacific Division

Tied for seventh in Western Conference

Lost in first round to San Antonio 

Success last year: Bryant defied the odds and had a resurgent 17th NBA season, producing with an efficiency few could’ve projected. Despite a dip in form on defense and difficulty incorporating Dwight Howard next to him, Bryant averaged 27.3 points, raising his career mark to 25.5 points per game, and showed a renewed ability to attack the basket until tearing his left Achilles tendon in his 78th game.

Failure last year: First Mike Brown and then D’Antoni failed to blend the supreme talents of Bryant, Howard, Gasol and Steve Nash, with injuries playing a big part in the bust also. The Lakers were rarely on the same page with each other last season, including in-house confusion over whether the coaching job would go to Phil Jackson or D’Antoni.

The primary storyline to the Lakers’ season will be Bryant’s recovery from his left Achilles tendon tear. How well he can return to form will dictate not only the team’s 2013-14 success, but also how much he can be counted on in 2014-15, when the Lakers hope to move back toward favored status in the NBA via free-agent signings.

2) Key Storylines

Key additions: Nick Young, Jordan Farmar, Chris Kaman, Wesley...

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