There will be two reactions regarding the regular season of the Los Angeles Lakers, one of disappointment and one which argues that the team made it through a tough season.
The former will argue that the consensus to start the season was that of championship expectations with the roster that was put together. The argument would be that while there was a lot of change to the roster it should work because there was no redundancy at any position with a lineup of Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash in the back-court and Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol in the front-court. The roster should also compensate for the process of getting the timing and rotations figured out and any defensive liability from a predominantly aging roster. A playoff run to the finals at this point seems unrealistic and therefore it will be seen as a season that is better forgotten.
The second argument would be that the team responded to adversity well and managed to make the postseason. That with all the disappointment of not only this current team but of the constant expectations of the Los Angeles Lakers franchise the team didn’t quit. Getting past the first-round and having a competitive series in the conference quarter-finals at a minimum would support this argument and the Lakers matchup against somewhat of an old rival in the San Antonio Spurs to start things off.
The situation for the Lakers to start this series is that Bryant will not be in the lineup. This will put pressure on predominantly Howard and Gasol as the Lakers main advantage becomes the front-court. At this point transition defense will still be a problem but the half-court defense is where there has been improvement and the Lakers should be able to hold their own. While home court advantage still belongs to the Spurs the Lakers strategy has to be to steal one of the first two games on the road, of course not an easy goal, but to win this series this has to happen.
Another factor to consider will be the advantage of not being in a back-to-back situation which has been a weakness all season, only getting consecutive victories in such a situation once during the regular season. This should improve the Lakers chances in this series.
Moreover, the Lakers could go against the grain and consider what is often discouraged and look past the immediate opponent. The strategy would consider momentum as an advantage, and getting past the first round would get that done.
Furthermore, heading into the postseason in an unfamiliar position of being the underdog, could possibly be another advantage to get more than just a moral victory to close out the entire 2012-13 season. In all, the Lakers winning a championship is a long shot at this point, nonetheless, the season being viewed as a disappointment could change by having a solid run in the playoffs and looking to build on that the following season, and this would be a reasonable goal.