It's been a long summer of rehab for
Meanwhile the Clippers now have a championship coach in
Certainly the team will ride on the backs of
Gasol is one of the most skillful big men scorers in the league. If the Lakers can establish an inside game, they have a shot to upset the Clippers.
Jordan needs to start his campaign for defensive player of the year on opening night against Gasol and the Lakers.
Williams wasn't even in the league last season but he's someone the Lakers have hopes will be a high-level defender and capable three-point threat.
If he can deliver on that, especially against a difficult offensive player like Griffin, the Lakers may be better defensively than expected -- although that's a lot to ask.
Offensively for the Clippers,
The Clippers should hit 55 to 60 wins this season while the Lakers may not duplicate last year's 45-win total.
Head-to-head against the Lakers without Bryant certainly favors the Clippers.