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Darren Collison
Lakers project to finish outside of top eight in west -- again
Lakers project to finish outside of top eight in west -- again

The Lakers finished the 2013-14 season in 14th place in the Western Conference, with a 27-55 record -- a franchise worst since moving to Los Angeles. Kobe Bryant played in just six games with knee and Achilles injuries.  He's healthy heading into the 2014-15 season, which kicks off Tuesday at Staples Center against the Houston Rockets. Pau Gasol has departed for the Chicago Bulls.  Steve Nash (back) is out for the season.  Nick Young is expected to miss 15 to 20 games with a thumb injury. Can the Lakers climb to the top eight in the west, to earn a spot in the playoffs? 1 -- San Antonio Spurs (56-61 wins):  The Spurs are the defending champions.  While...

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