Without question, the re-emergence of the Los Angeles Lakers as title favorites is the preeminent story of the 2012 offseason. Giving up shockingly little in terms of assets, the Lakers somehow turned Lamar Odom's lost 2011-12 season and a pair of lower-rung draft picks into two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash; and a month later the team dealt the NBA's second-best center and little else for far and away the NBA's best pivotman in Dwight Howard. With Pau Gasol and Kobe Bean Bryant retained, the Lakers are thinking championship or bust with a fantastic starting lineup.
With former Sacramento Kings, New Jersey Nets and Washington Wizards coach Eddie Jordan on hand to add some Princeton principals to the offense, questions abound. Is it smart to take the ball out of Nash's hands? Will Kobe chafe at working in yet another read-and-react offense? Can Dwight Howard handle the high-post work? Will Pau Gasol ever re-find the spark that made him so dangerous during Los Angeles' 2009 and 2010 title runs? BBallBreakDown, featuring the great Coach Nick, has it sussed: