Burning questions: Pacific Division

Addressing key issues and a possible changing of the guard

Updated: August 22, 2013, 11:37 AM ET
By Amin Elhassan | ESPN Insider

Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul USA TODAY SportsWho owns the Pacific Division? Kobe Bryant or Chris Paul?

The start of training camp is only six weeks away, with many players returning to their team practice facilities the week after Labor Day to participate in "informals" (small group workouts and glorified pickup runs). Most teams have a clear idea of who their personnel will be, and expectations have been set internally. But there's always a level of uncertainty entering camp, burning questions that each team must ask of itself, the answers to which usually hold a key indicator to the level of success that will be achieved this season.

Each day, we'll tackle a different division in the Western Conference and answer burning questions for every team. Today, we continue with the Pacific Division.

MORE BURNING QUESTIONS:

Northwest | Pacific | Southwest


1. With Kobe Bryant on the mend, how good (or bad) can the Los Angeles Lakers be?

Outside of the loss of Dwight Howard and Bryant's injury, the argument can be made that the Lakers' roster actually improved. The additions of Nick Young, Wes Johnson and Jordan Farmar bring much needed athleticism and (marginally better) shooting to the perimeter. Chris Kaman, while past his prime as a starting center, still can contribute as a rebounder and screener as a backup center. Perhaps more importantly, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol will have had the entire summer to rest and rehab from the assorted ailments that dogged them throughout the 2012-13 season. Make no mistake, they aren't anywhere near their prime selves, but when healthy, they still can be high-level contributors, particularly with Gasol moving back to his natural position of center.