The championship aspirations that have so consistently marked players who put on the Purple and Gold jersey were there coming into the 2011-12 campaign, yet again. Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum led the Lakers into a lockout shortened season that began on Christmas Day, the mindset simple: title or bust.

With the standard set and the talent good enough for another deep run, the team's ultimate loss in the Western Semi's -- despite signs of promise and flirtation with playoff success — was not what the Lakers had in mind.