Are Lakers favorites to win in the west without Bynum?

What are your thoughts?

Bleacher Report: With the playoffs rapidly approaching, and Andrew Bynum sidelined by a knee injury for the third straight year, it’s time to ask a painful question for Laker fans.

If Bynum can’t come back at full strength, are the Lakers the favorites to win the Western Conference any more?

There hasn’t been this much panic in Laker-land since Kobe Bryant told Stephen A. Smith that he wanted to be traded back in the summer of 2007 , and for good reason.

Since Bynum went down with a strained Achilles tendon on March 19 , the once near-invincible Lakers look suddenly mortal. Very mortal.

The Lakers, who’ve gone 13-8 since the All-Star break, were on a six-game winning streak when Bynum went down against the Timberwolves.

Since Bynum’s injury the Lakers are 3-3—with two blowout losses coming at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday and the Atlanta Hawks just last night.

Coincidence? I think not.

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