It’s still early, but the Los Angeles Lakers are exceeding expectations.

After 12 games of play and three wins in their last four games, the Lakers are 7-5. Is 7-5 an incredible mark? No. But here is an incredible fact and encouraging piece of information for Lakers fans. The Lakers already have seven wins and it’s just Nov. 16. The Lakers did not get their seventh win of the season last year until Jan. 1, 2016.

It’s safe to say this team is way ahead of last year’s squad.

Many fans thought the departure of Kobe Bryant would only make things more difficult, but it turns out the Lakers are actually better off. The Lakers have far better ball movement without Bryant, and this young core of players are getting the job done unlike last year.

D'Angelo Russell is the leading scorer on the Lakers averaging 16.8 points per game, and Lou Williams has been fantastic off the bench averaging 15.6 points per game. Timofey Mozgov, who got a very handsome salary in the offseason, hasn’t exactly had the profound impact many Lakers fans thought he would, but Julius Randle has been doing an excellent job on the boards thus far. The key factor for the Lakers success offensively has been their balanced scoring. Five players are averaging more than 13 points per game.

The biggest flaw for the Lakers has been their defense. They rank 25th in points per game, and when you’re competing in the Western Conference, that’s going to have to improve.

The Lakers are currently in seventh place in the Western Conference standings.

This upcoming week and a half is going to be a huge test for the Purple and Gold. The Lakers next six games will be against the Chicago Bulls, San Antoni Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Atlanta Hawks and a back-to-back with the Golden State Warriors.