Five big questions

Kinda touched on this last week, but even the NBA champs have questions to answer as they prepare to make a run at a second straight title. Among them:

1. How quickly can the Lakers block out the many distractions created by Lamar Odom’s wedding to Bruce Jenner’s stepdaughter? Even in the calmest of seasons the Lakers run sort of a three-ring circus. You can add a fourth ring as training camp begins.

2. How quickly can they get Ron Artest into the fold? He was their lone addition during the offseason, filling the opening created when Trevor Ariza signed with the Houston Rockets to fill the void created when Artest departed for the Lakers.

3. How quickly can Pau Gasol recover from a whirlwind August and September, when he injured a finger while practicing with Spain and then led his country to the European Championship? He had only a week to rest and recover before the start of training camp.

4. Is Andrew Bynum’s knee in shape? Lakers coach Phil Jackson said last week that he saw the 7-foot center last week and believed him to be lighter and in better shape after a month of workouts in the heat and humidity of Atlanta.

5. How will the minutes be divided among the Lakers’ point guards? This might be the only significant competition as training camp opens, what with Derek Fisher expected to start and Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar set to battle for minutes. Jackson suggested last week he might go with a big lineup of Artest, Gasol, Bynum, Odom and Kobe Bryant in an overwhelming show of force. It’s always nice to have options.

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