Record: 56-26, second place in Pacific Division
The Lakers made two huge additions in the off-season, signing free-agent center Shaquille O'Neal from the Orlando Magic and drafting Kobe Bryant out of high school. O'Neal led the Lakers to their best record since the 1990-91 season, averaging 26.2 points and 12.5 rebounds per game, while Bryant was mainly a reserve in his first season, though he did win the slam-dunk contest at the All-Star break.
The Lakers also added an important piece of future titles by acquiring Robert Horry during the season from Phoenix for Cedric Ceballos.
Playoffs: The Lakers advanced to the Western Conference semifinals before losing to Utah in the semifinals.