What 2013-14 Los Angeles Lakers Must Do to Make Playoffs and Exceed Expectations

The Los Angeles Lakers may not be as bad as everyone thinks they will be during the 2013-14 NBA regular season, but will they be good enough to qualify for the playoffs and truly exceed expectations?

Some may argue that the Lakers actually got better when they lost Dwight Howard to the Houston Rockets in free agency, and it is true that their chemistry should be much improved without Howard's cancerous presence in the locker room.

But, the teams Los Angeles will be fighting for a playoff spot also improved, and they did it by adding dynamic elements to their teams.

The Rockets catapulted to the top of the Western Conference by adding Howard, and Golden State's ability to land Andre Iguadola solidified their claim as California's second-best team behind the Los Angeles Clippers.

Speaking of the Clippers, all they did was add a coach with a championship pedigree in Doc Rivers, and they also strengthened their roster by bringing in J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley.

The Lakers did manage to get  younger and more athletic with the additions of Nick Young and Wesley Johnson, and Chris Kaman gives them a player who can compensate for the size they lost when Howard took his talents to Texas.

Young and Johnson's ability to shoot from distance gives Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni an opportunity to spread the court and run the type of offense he envisioned when accepting the job last year, but will that be enough to push the Lakers over the top in a crowded field?

Success for the Lakers next season probably hinges on a couple of factors, and player health will likely play a key role.

Injuries decimated the Lakers' starting five last season, as each player missed periods of significant time, and star guard Kobe Bryant is expected to begin this season the same way he ended last season, as a spectator.

Of course Bryant could surprise everyone and join the team's s...

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