The Credits: "Mission: Impossible"

MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 19: The Los Angeles Lakers line up before a game against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on January 19, 2012 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

The Lakers have been struggling throughout this entire lockout-shortened season. It's no surprise, considering they're still the only team to have played as many games in as few days as they have. Practice time is short, everything is new and players are wearing down quickly. And contrary to popular belief, Dwight Howard is not the answer to all of their problems, which go much deeper. Can Deron Williams fix what ails this team? Does he want to? Will the Lakers get a chance to find out? And if so, how far will they go this season?

To be a championship-caliber team, you have to be able to win on the road, and the Lakers went into Friday's game at Orlando with a 1-5 road record (including a loss to the Clippers at Staples Center).

Paul Pierce to the Lakers is an inconceivable notion to many, but is it the right thing to do for the team? If the Celtics really do break up their team, how can the Lakers benefit?

The real question is who wants the Big 3? How motivated can any of them be if they’re not competing directly for a championship? Is Paul Pierce going to be more compelled to get into gameshape for a fringe contender? Is Kevin Garnett going to be able to bring the same intensity at this age, or has he burned the fire out? Do you really want to pay Ray Allen to be a spot-up shooter on the perimeter?

The Lakers face the Indiana Pacers tonight, back at STAPLES, where they've been very successful this season. But if they really want to compete, they're going to have to do better away from home.

↓ More after the jump ↓

L.A. Times

ESPN

O.C. Register

Sports Illustrated

FOX Sports

Yahoo! Sports

ProBasketballTalk

Miscellaneous

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