Coach Mike D'Antoni may start offensive-minded Young at small forward with Johnson backing him up as the stronger defender. Young could also start at the two initially while Bryant recovers, with Johnson starting.
Shawne Williams, Marcus Landry, Elias Harris and Henry, each fighting to make the final roster, bring shooting and toughness to the position. Harris is more of a D'Antoni four who needs to develop his outside shot but brings versatility to the floor.
Bryant may also play significant minutes at small forward.
LaMarcus Aldridge is among the top few power forwards in the league. He's a worthy all-star, primarily based on his scoring prowess.
Last year, Aldridge, along with Lillard, helped carry the Blazers while averaging 21.1 points a game.
Aldridge is younger and more athletic than Gasol but the advantage is only slight for the Blazers.
If Gasol starts at center, Aldridge is significantly better than anyone else the Lakers can play at power forward.
Shawne Williams is an option as a defensive-minded stretch four. Other options could be Jordan Hill or even rookie Ryan Kelly, although he still has to make the team. Harris and Johnson may get time at the four in reserve roles.
The Blazers picked up Robin Lopez in a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Lopez has good size but isn't a tremendous offensive threat. Meyers Leonard is still learning the NBA game as well. Aldridge can play five as well, in a smaller lineup.
If the Lakers go with Gasol at center, they have the advantage at center at the expense of the power forward position.
Who is better?
The Blazers had minimal depth last year and were competitive, winning 33 games before injuries tanked the season.
Portland has greater depth, enough to challenge for the 40-45 win range. If absolutely everything goes right for the Blazers, perhaps they even extend that to the 45-50 range.
That's right about where the Lakers are. If Bryant, Nash and Gasol get and stay healthy, all the young players blossom and nothing goes wrong, 45-50 is a possibility.
Of course in the NBA, there's always adversity.
The Blazers have the clear advantage over the Lakers at point guard and small forward. Aldridge rivals Gasol, and though there's no Bryant on the Portland roster, it is unclear if the Lakers have the Bryant of old on theirs.
The Lakers need to be better than seven teams and though they should be able to beat out five, a strong season from the Blazers could push the Lakers closer to the lottery.