The Lakers were swept out the playoffs last season by the San Antonio Spurs as Kobe Bryant sat out with a torn Achilles' tendon.
Six months later and Bryant is still working his way back, Dwight Howard is a Houston Rocket and the Lakers have added a number of younger, less established athletes with hopes of improving on last year's campaign.
Spurs power forward Tim Duncan is doubtful after sustaining a chest contusion in a win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Even if Duncan doesn't play, the Spurs are a threat with players such as Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard.
On Wednesday night, the Lakers tried to play without Steve Nash, resting him on the second night of back-to-back games, and fell apart against the Golden State Warriors.
Nash wasn't a major part of why the Lakers beat the Clippers on opening night. It was the play of Jordan Farmar in the fourth quarter that pushed the Lakers to a big victory, but the Lakers still benefit from Nash's floor leadership.
Parker is one of the best point guards in the NBA. His ability to get into the paint has been a problem for most teams.
If Parker has a big game, the Lakers are going to have to try to match that with Nash and Farmar -- no easy task.
Boris Diaw could start in place of Duncan, giving the Spurs a very different look.
Though Diaw isn't close to Duncan's stature, he can be productive on the floor, especially as a playmaker and outside shooter.
Xavier Henry is leading the Lakers with 18 points a game on 50% shooting from the field and 60% from three-point range. He's gotten to the free-throw line 17 times in two games.
The Lakers offense is still a work in progress, and Henry has taken on a scorer's role off the bench.
When the Lakers are struggling for points, Henry has been an answer.
Every win the Lakers can get while Bryant is out is a gift.
Making the playoffs will be a challenge this season. The difference between eighth place and ninth place could be a single game.
If Duncan does sit, the Lakers have a chance to start the season 2-1 when, on paper, 0-3 seemed the likely outcome.
San Antonio, even without Duncan, is a difficult team to beat.
Either way, the Lakers will have a challenge and an opportunity to start the season with two consecutive wins at home, sandwiching an embarrassing loss at Golden State.