Several star players could miss the start of the season with injuries. Let's take a look at why each player's team will miss them and why they won't miss them.
Why they will: The Lakers played 981 minutes without Kobe on the floor last season and saw a five-point swing in the wrong direction per 48 minutes while he was on the bench.
Lakers With Kobe Bryant On/Off Court
Why they won’t: Bryant has missed 103 regular-season games in his career. The Lakers have a .621 win percentage in those games, including 5-3 last season.
Why they will: Last season, with Rose in the lineup, the Bulls went 32-7. They scored 100.4 points per 48 minutes with Rose on the court compared to just 92.2 with him off the floor.
Why they won’t: Chicago went 18-9 (.667 win pct) in games Rose missed during the 2011-12 regular season. Excluding the Bulls, the Heat were the only team in the Eastern Conference that had a better win percentage than .667 last season.
Why they will: The Timberwolves are 5-38 without Love since he entered the league, including 2-18 in the last two seasons.
Why they won’t: They will. Last season per 48 minutes, the Timberwolves scored more points, shot better, had a better assist-to-turnover ratio, and had a +9.0 swing in rebound margin with Love on the court than they did with him off the court.
Why they will: Last season, the Mavs outscored opponents by 6.0 points per 48 minutes with Dirk on the court but were outscored by 8.4 points per 48 minutes with him off the court.
Why they won’t: The two key returning Mavs players, Vince Carter and Shawn Marion, both averaged more points per game in the four games Nowitzki missed last season than they did in the games he played.
Carmelo Anthony Last Season
In Games With/Without Amar'e Stoudemire
Why they will: In 2010-11, Stoudemire averaged 25 points, eight rebounds and two assists per game with a 50 field-goal percentage, something that has been done 68 times in history. Assuming Tim Duncan and Shaquille O'Neal will be Hall of Famers, 66 of the other 67 seasons were by Hall of Famers.
Why they won’t: The Knicks were 14-5 in games without Stoudemire last season but just 22-25 with him. They scored more points and allowed fewer points per game without Stoudemire.
Why they will: Andrew Bynum averaged more than 18 points and 11 rebounds per game last season. The 76ers haven't had a player with those averages in a season since Charles Barkley more than 20 years ago.
Why they won’t: Each of the 76ers' first 12 games are against teams that won fewer than 40 games last season. Seven of those games are against teams that finished below .500 last season.
Why they will: When Ricky Rubio tore his ACL on March 9, the Timberwolves were the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference with a 21-20 record. But after he went down, the Timberwolves lost 20 of their final 25 games and finished 12th in the West.
Fewest Points per Play Last Season
Minimum 500 Plays
Why they won’t: Rubio was very inefficient creating his own offense last season. He averaged just 0.74 points per play, the fewest among the 176 players with at least 500 plays.
Why they will: John Wall is one of three players in history to average at least 16 points, eight assists and four rebounds per game in each of his first two seasons. The others? Oscar Robertson and Damon Stoudamire.
Why they won’t: Wall was not efficient as a pick-and-roll ball-handler last season. Among the 41 players to run at least 200 pick-and-roll plays, Wall averaged the fewest points per play (0.69).
Why they will: The Spurs went 28-6 (.824 win pct) and averaged 108.3 points per game with Ginobili in the lineup last season. Without him, their win percentage dropped to .688 and they averaged nearly 10 fewer points per game.
Why they won’t: The Spurs outscored opponents by 9.7 points per 48 minutes last postseason with Ginobili on the bench. With him on the court, that margin shrunk to +3.2.
Statistical support for this story from NBA.com.