2008-09 prediction: Lakers lords of Pacific

Give yourselves a hand, Los Angeles Lakers: You're the unanimous pick to win the Pacific Division. Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images

Editor's note: We asked our panel of NBA experts, "Who will win the Pacific Division?"

1. Los Angeles Lakers: 18 votes (unanimous)

Henry Abbott, ESPN.com's TrueHoop: Anyone, besides Shaq, care to disagree?

J.A. Adande, ESPN.com: They'll win the division and, as always, lead the league in drama.

Maurice Brooks, ESPN.com: They were already the best team in the division and now they have a healthy Andrew Bynum to go with the big three of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom.

Chris Broussard, ESPN Mag: A healthy Andrew Bynum makes them the class of the mighty West.

Ric Bucher, ESPN Mag: By default. Kobe isn't chasing his first MVP title, which drove the Lakers to grab the West's best record, but the rest of the division has slipped.

Chad Ford, ESPN.com: Kobe Bryant has the deepest team in the NBA. We know he's a great individual player ... but can he lead a team to the title?

John Hollinger, ESPN.com: They could be awesome; more likely, they'll just be really, really good.

Mark Jackson, ESPN: Kobe Bryant is still the best player in the world, and last season's experience makes the Lakers hungrier.

Scoop Jackson, ESPN.com

Tim Legler, ESPN: Kobe has all the pieces around him now that Andrew Bynum is healthy. The runner-up is always the hungriest team in the NBA.

Keith Lipscomb, ESPN.com Fantasy: Plenty of star power and a solid bunch of willing and able role players = West's best record again.

Jackie MacMullan, ESPN.com: Phil Jackson was embarrassed last June; he's too smart to let it happen again.

Chris Palmer, ESPN Mag: They may not lose a division game until February.

Jack Ramsay, ESPN Radio: Bynum's a big factor while Kobe takes charge. Expect a better season for Gasol, more minutes for Jordan Farmar and Sasha Vujacic, and steady play from Luke Walton.

Jalen Rose, ESPN: Only two players 30 or over (Fisher and Bryant). The frontcourt core of Gasol and Bynum should really emerge. Lamar Odom may not start but will finish.

Chris Sheridan, ESPN.com: I have trouble seeing the Odom off-the-bench thing working out. But if all goes smoothly, combined with Andrew Bynum being back and Jordan Farmar showing further development, this should be a 58-60 win season.

Marc Stein, ESPN.com: Can any team out there claim to be a bigger favorite to win its division than the Lakers?

David Thorpe, Scouts Inc.: Lakers got better with the return of Bynum, while nobody else in the division improved over the summer. L.A.'s defense may carry the day early.