As the Lakers look to repeat as NBA Champions, they're facing some pretty tough challenges.
Between the older age of their roster, injuries that have decimated the team, and new Western powerhouses on the rise, this season is proving to be especially difficult for the Purple and Gold.
And, if you ask NBA insider Chris Haynes, he'll tell you that he has some doubts about whether or not they can overcome them all.
"I feel like the Lakers are vulnerable, for all the reasons you just mentioned. Particularly, them coming back at the tail end of the season, trying to carry a team, and not just coming back able to coast, but they're coming back with meaningful games. They have to make some ground in these standings.
I just think with those young legs that Utah, Denver, and Phoenix have, I just don't think that's a good combination for the Lakers. Sooner or later, young legs will lap you."
Assuming LeBron James and Anthony Davis are healthy, it's never wise to count out the Lakers completely. After all, look at what happened last year.
But between them missing so much time, and L.A.'s current slide down the standings, it's reasonable to question how the duo will be able to raise their team's position in the standings and get them to the Finals once the playoffs commence.
Considering so many obstacles lie in their path, and younger, hungry teams seem ready to capitalize on the opportunity, LeBron James and Anthony Davis may be about to begin the toughest stretch of their partnership.