Veteran point guard Steve Blake says he believes that the Lakers will exceed expectations this season.
"I'm still a little bit surprised about how negative people are on us right now," Blake told Mike Trudell of Lakers.com on Tuesday.
"If you speak to most of the players, we're all pretty optimistic," Blake said. "I think the fact that people don't believe in us this year might give us an advantage somehow."
Blake has joined nearly the entire roster in informal workouts at the team's practice facility in El Segundo. Two still out are Kobe Bryant, recovering from an Achilles injury, and Pau Gasol who is in Europe (primarily Spain) while rehabbing his knees.
It's unclear if either will be ready by opening night on Oct. 29.
Meanwhile, Blake is in good shape after finishing the postseason sidelined with a hamstring strain.
"I feel healthy," he said. "The summer was really good. I got a lot of work in."
Blake recently scrimmaged against Steve Nash, who also was hurt at the end of the Lakers' season (hip, hamstring and back).
"He looks great. He's moving well," Blake said of Nash. "I was a little surprised he was out here playing. It was nice to see him out here. Steve is Steve -- he's great at what he does."
With Dwight Howard leaving for free agency, Blake said he is looking forward to playing with new center Chris Kaman.
"He gives a little bit more of a dynamic option than just Dwight just rolling to the rim every time," Blake said. "[Kaman] and Pau [Gasol], I think, will be a good combination together because they are both pretty versatile in how they play."
Blake noted that Wesley's Johnson's youth and athleticism will help defensively. The Lakers will also get scoring from Nick Young. Both players signed with the team in July.
"We needed someone else, whether it's starting or coming off the bench, who can get numbers for us. I think [Young is] that guy we can go to [for scoring]," Blake said. "Sometimes the tougher the shot, I think it's easier for him."
The Lakers are set to start training camp with media day on Sept. 28. Blake said he expects the team to have a strong season.
"We'll be focused and we'll believe in each other," he said. "We still have amazing talent on this team."