AOL.com's Preseason NBA Power Rankings: 25. Los Angeles Lakers
By JOHN DORN
AOL Sports has brought you our NBA power rankings leading up to tipoff throughout this month -- most recently with the Denver Nuggets coming in an No. 26. Next up is a high-profile team on the heels of some hard times -- times that probably won't be getting better any time soon.
The Los Angeles Lakers are a struggle. They're a struggle to watch, a struggle to play for under Byron Scott and surely a struggle for the Buss family to run.
Kobe Bryant is presumably at full strength once again, but at 37, isn't not a given that he can contribute at his All-Star pace of years past. At the very least, the Lakers must hope that Bryant can facilitate the progression of the No. 2 overall pick D'Angelo Russell -- Bryant has never been known as a player that has helped his young players grow.
Russell is definitely rare a bright spot for these Lakers -- an intriguing prospect that could create for both himself and his teammates at Ohio State. He is turnover prone, though, and at 19, could suffer some growing pains with limited talent around him.
Roy Hibbert, Lou Williams and Brandon Bass are solid veteran additions, while Jordan Clarkson is a returning bright spot from last year's team. Julius Randle will effectively be entering his first year after breaking his leg in last year's opener -- but his ability to score in the post is questionable early on.
Some pieces are there for the Lakers, but it will likely be some time before something meaningful comes together -- and Kobe might not be around to see the finished product.
More from AOL.com:
AOL.com's Preseason NBA Power Rankings: 26. Denver Nuggets
Rookie Matt Jones, revamped D lead Redskins past Rams 24-10
Steelers go for 2 and everything else, crush 49ers 43-18