The Lakers shocked the basketball world last season when they acquired Pau Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies en route to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2003-04. With center Andrew Bynum's return from a season ending knee injury last January, the Lakers got off to a blazing start in 2008-09 but have struggled recently, particularly on the defensive end of the floor. Clearly the best team in the West up to this point, Kobe Bryant and Co. will have to step up their play on the defensive end to repeat as Western Conference Champions. Grade: A-
Edited by magicbalala245, December 17, 2008 - 10:36 PM.