Image: Mark J. Rebilas | USA TODAY Sports
Image: Mark J. Rebilas | USA TODAY Sports
Image: Mark J. Rebilas | USA TODAY Sports

All week long, our staff writers have chimed in on a series of topics, rumors and storylines leading up to the start of the season. In this week’s final edition of State of the Nation, our writers examine the Lakers’ biggest key to this upcoming season:

Felipe Amaral // @F_Amaral

The biggest key will be staying healthy. The Lakers don’t have much behind Kobe, Nash and Gasol. Even if Bryant comes back at full strength from the Achilles tear, the Purple & Gold will need Nash’s back and Gasol’s knees to hold up if they want to achieve a successful season.

Jordan Grant // @JordanGrant90

The play of our young players, as well as keeping our older players fresh and injury-free. The new guys were brought in with the specific purpose of providing that spark and fresh legs to keep up with the rest of the NBA. If Pau, Nash, and Kobe can stay healthy, we could be looking at a dangerous team who can compete in the playoffs.

Mark Awad // @MarkeyTheBoss_

Two very important elements. First, the defense needs to be a lot better. We can score 120 points a game, but if you can’t slow down a team, it won’t make a difference. Second of all, chemistry is important. Can Gasol and Nash bring the team in together with so much young talent?

Robert Benitez // @beeb0

Obviously staying healthy is a big one, but I also believe team chemistry is going to be very important this season. It’s no secret Dwight Howard wasn’t exactly the happiest guy in the locker room last season and it’s obvious now that he’s gone, the team is clicking better then they did last year. It is important for the Lakers to keep that chemistry throughout the year and play as a cohesive unit.

Bummi Anderson // @BummiNAnderson

Kobe’s return. He has to be at least 75-80% for LA to make some noise this season. I believe he will return to a higher level than most expected.

Oren Levy // @LakersOren

Health. The Lakers may have added young role players, but their three key guys are on the wrong side of 30, and ailing. If Kobe, Pau, and Nash are healthy, this team has serious potential. If not…get ready for the lottery!

Garret Garcia // @GarrettGarcia

The biggest key to success this season is chemistry. Chemistry proved to be the downfall of the Lakers last season, and if the team can mesh well and communicate, they have a lot more potential then they ever did last season.

Melvin Taylor // @MelvinTaylorII

Chemistry. Look back to the Lakers teams who won championships. Above all else they had chemistry with one another. When Farmar, Ariza, Vujacic and company were on the floor, they meshed well with one another. If they Lakers can play as a team, the sky is the limit.

Jory Dreher // @Jay_Laker

Health, health, and health again. With Steve Nash’s health seemingly declining before out very eyes and no timetable for the return of Kobe Bryant, keeping guys like Pau, Nick Young and Chris Kaman healthy long enough to hold down the fort is going to be crucial.

Jon Gaffer // @jewelslamo

Team defense. As the great Pat Riley once said, “No defense, no rings.”

Alex Lambeth // @AlexLambeth

Health. With Kobe Bryant returning from his torn Achilles, and both Pau Gasol and Steve Nash returning from injury-riddled seasons, the Lakers are going to need some ‘luck’ in the injury department to be successful this season.