Even with LeBron James, many are doubting that the Lakers can make a realistic push in the postseason. Some are even skeptical they will make the postseason at all.
Kobe Bryant doesn't count for either group.
Here's what he said to The Undefeated's Jerry Bembry on the status of the Lakers this season:
"The Lakers are going to surprise a lot of people. Rob [Pelinka, the Lakers’ general manager], has smartly built a team of physical players. Big, versatile, fast, physical players. He understands that if you want to challenge Golden State, you can’t challenge them with shooting. That’s what they do.
"You’ve got to beat them somewhere else. You have to beat them with size. Chippiness. Feistiness. Strength and speed. And he has a team that has that. He has a mixture of vets that are still in their primes and young kids that are hungry and open-minded and willing to learn. A team that can compete and challenge. That is a dangerous mix."
With the new season finally underway, a lot of eyes will is be placed on LeBron and these new-look Lakers. The pieces they've pulled together are clunky, weird, and maybe even washed.
But it may very well be enough to compete in the Western Conference this year. Kobe certainly seems to think so, anyway.
Lucky for us, we'll get to find out soon enough.