Steve Nash, Goran Dragic

Lakers point guard Steve Nash lays it in as Phoenix guard Goran Dragic applies pressure during a game on Feb. 12. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times / February 12, 2013)

Kaman is arguably the best center offensively on either roster.  Certainly Gasol, if starting, gives the Lakers the advantage at center.

The Lakers also have Robert Sacre and Jordan Hill at center.

Who is Better?

The Lakers are more skilled and experienced than the Suns at four positions -- with small forward being a toss-up.

The Suns won just 25 games last season and while they may improve by a handful of games, their upside isn't much more than 30 wins.

If Bryant, Nash and Gasol show their age and struggle with injury, the Lakers could drop into the 30s -- but a more realistic projection is close to last year's 45-37.

Dragic and Bledsoe will give the Lakers the most trouble offensively for the Suns.  The Morris twins are promising but are still developing.  It is unclear whether Gortat is part of Phoenix's future plans.

Both the Lakers and Suns are in transition but the Lakers are a borderline playoff team and Phoenix may be in contention for a top lottery pick.

Where exactly the Lakers stand in relation to the rest of the West isn't quite clear but they are better than at least two Western teams in the Suns and Pelicans.


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