The Los Angeles Lakers find themselves in both familiar and unfamiliar territory at the same time for the start of the 2019-2020 NBA season. The franchise that ranks second all-time with 16 titles, once again, has championship expectations. But it’s been a while since L.A. has even come close to reaching the NBA Finals, having missed the playoffs in six straight seasons.

Count last year as another disappointing season for the purple and gold. The team wasn’t supposed to compete for a title, but a 37-45 record in LeBron James’ first season on the West Coast had to be considered a failure.

Missing the 2020 playoffs would be a disaster for the Lakers. With James and Anthony Davis on the roster, it’s championship or bust.

The Lakers have the second-best odds to win the 2020 NBA Finals. The Los Angeles Clippers are the prohibitive favorites after adding Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in the craziest offseason the league has ever seen.

Now that the Lakers aren’t considered to be the best team in their own city, there might be even more pressure to deliver a championship. Leonard has supplanted James as the world’s best basketball player in the eyes of many. Davis has to prove he was worth the haul of draft picks and young players the organization traded for him.

Injuries and a poorly constructed roster doomed the Lakers in 2018-2019. The team was rolling as the No.4 seed in the Western Conference until a groin injury sidelined James for several weeks. His 55 games played were the fewest of his 16-year career.

Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball also missed significant time with injuries. All three players struggled to make three-pointers, as did other role players that didn’t fit as complementary pieces around James.

The front office made smarter acquisitions this offseason. The team still lacks depth beyond its two superstars. It will be hard for James and Davis to carry the Lakers through a difficult conference.

Kuzma will need to become a consistent shooter and third scoring option. Danny Green was a solid free-agent addition. Can Avery Bradley or Rajon Rondo be close to their former selves?

An argument can be made that as many as six or seven teams are talented enough to make it out of the West. The Lakers aren’t built to dominate the regular season like the Clippers or Houston Rockets. The Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets might be in a position to get a higher seed than the Lakers.

Getting a healthy James and Davis into the postseason is the ultimate goal. That’s when the two stars have a chance to make their greatest impact.

It was just a year and a half ago that James had maybe the greatest individual playoff run in NBA history. Davis finished that season third in voting for both MVP and Defensive Player of the Year.

If both players perform at that level this spring, there might be no stopping the Lakers.

It’s going to be a long season. The roster could go through several changes, as most LeBron teams do over the course of a year. Health will be a major factor in where the Lakers finish the team.

What will the 2019-2020 Los Angeles Lakers’ season look like when all is said and done?

Record: 49-33

Playoff Finish: Western Conference Finals

LeBron James: 25.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, 10.0 assists per game

Anthony Davis: 29.8 points, 12.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists per game