With the roster changes pretty much finalized, it's safe to envision how the Lakers will fare in the 2012-13 season. Sure, the Lakers will have to thin their 14-man roster during training camp, and no one can be sure how any potential deals might change the NBA landscape. But in the spirit of seeing how things have evolved for the Lakers since the 2012 NBA playoffs, this is one in a series breaking down potentially troublesome opponents.
Lakers' record vs. Clippers last season: 2-1
How Clippers fared last season: Finished fifth in the Western Conference with a 40-26 regular-season record. Swept in four games by the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference semifinals.
Why the Lakers are a threat to the Clippers: Even when the Clippers ran and dunked their way toward relevancy last season, they didn't steal the Lakers' spot as L.A.'s top team. They just seemed more exciting. Well the Lakers just soured that buzz by picking up Steve Nash and Dwight Howard, which should replace Slowtime with Showtime. Even though Chris Paul and Blake Griffin keep the young Clippers as playoff contenders, they'll be no match for the Lakers.
Nash may be 106 years old (actually 38), but he can still run the pick-and-roll as effectively as Paul. Griffin may enjoy beating up Pau Gasol from time to time, but he won't be able to do the same against Howard. Meanwhile, the Clippers upgrades for their bench with Lamar Odom, Grant Hill and Jamal Crawford lose some luster after the Lakers added scoring punch with Antawn Jamison and Jodie Meeks. The Clippers may have made inroads, but they're still a long way from matching the Lakers.