The Lakers are one of the most storied franchises in NBA history. They have won 16 NBA Championships, most recently in 2009 and 2010, and have been lucky to have some of the all-time greatest players wear the Laker jersey. For most kids growing up, they often dream of being a Los Angeles Laker. Now is the time to choose which player will make up the star-studded cast of the greatest Lakers in history.
With only $15 in your pocket, it is the time to choose which players will start in your team to get the best possible chance to win every night. While this is extremely difficult to choose between the players since the Lakers have an incredible lineage of great players, here are the players that can be chosen.
$5 – Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Magic Johnson, LeBron James, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain
Clearly, the $5 worth of players is the cream of the crop. These players are the most dominant players to ever wear the Lakers jersey, and we’re directly responsible for NBA championships or NBA title contention. While LeBron James is the newest edition to the Lakers, he deserves a spot simply due to his greatness. The Lakers will be one of the title favorites as long as James is the leader of the team, and he is still one of the best players in the league today. The big men, Kareem, Shaq, and Wilt are all legends of the game and top ten players of all time. Shaq is the most dominant, Kareem the most consistent and Wilt being the ultimate stat-stuffer.
Getting down to the nitty-gritty is Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson. These two guys are recognized as the greatest Lakers of all time, and for good reason. Magic captured five NBA titles and was the architect for the Showtime Lakers for many years. Similarly, Kobe captured five NBA titles and was the most dominant Laker of our generation. Once again, these two guys are the top ten players of all time.
$4 – Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, James Worthy, Pau Gasol, Anthony Davis
The $4 crew are still superstars and were key players that complemented the legends above. Jerry West is one of the best guards ever, with an ability to score the ball and also pass the ball among the best ever. Elgin Baylor never won a title in LA but was an absolute scoring machine. He averaged 27.4 PPG for his career, one of the highest-scoring marks ever. Similarly, Anthony Davis has yet to win a title in LA but is clearly one of the best to ever wear the jersey already. His partnership with LeBron James is one of the scariest duos of all time.
James Worthy is a champion and former Finals MVP who was a key contributor to the Magic Johnson-led Lakers. Pau Gasol, similarly, was the sidekick to Kobe Bryant and managed to win two titles in 2009 and 2010. Worthy and Gasol came through when it mattered most, in the NBA Finals, and are excellent players in Laker lore.
$3 – Michael Cooper, Byron Scott, Steve Nash, Lamar Odom
These guys are all All-Star quality players, either thanks to their production or their ability to impact the game at any moment. Everybody knows the value of Michael Cooper, one of the best defensive players of all time. He could shut down most guards in the league and had an offensive game that included attacking the basket and hitting the jump shot. Lamar Odom was another key player to the Lakers championship run with Kobe and Gasol and was a legitimate 6th man of the year contender every year. Odom could do it all on the floor including scoring, rebounding, and playmaking.
Steve Nash got to the Lakers when he was older, but his impact cannot be denied. He is one of the greatest playmakers of all time, and also one of the best pure shooters of all time. Nash was a dominant player in his prime, and could easily be worth $4, but his age and deterioration set him back a bit. Byron Scott was a key contributor to the Lakers as well, being one of the toughest guards to ever wear the jersey paired with strong defense and scoring ability. Scott is one of the most beloved Lakers, and he deserves a spot with this crew of players.
$2 – Derek Fisher, Robert Horry, Dwight Howard, Ron Artest
These guys were excellent role players and did it all on the floor in order to help the superstars win games. Derek Fisher was a clutch performer, tough defender, and a very important leader for the teams led by Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. Fisher always made clutch baskets, and so did Robert Horry. Horry is recognized as one of the most clutch players of all time and it seems that he always came through in big moments. Horry was never as talented as the rest, but his big shot-making was undeniable.
Dwight Howard and Ron Artest were tough defenders who made their name off of locking down the paint and perimeter respectively. Howard had a frustrating tenure with the Lakers the first time around, as he never saw eye-to-eye with superstar Kobe Bryant. He still put up big numbers, but his second time around is where he is showing hustle and dedication to the franchise. To fill a team, anyone would take these two guys for the defensive measures.
$1 – Nick Van Exel, Eddie Jones, Vlade Divac, A.C. Green
These guys were ultimate Lakers role players and can provide key attributes when it comes to what they do best. Van Exel was a speedy guard who could play both point guard and shooting guard and could light it up at any moment. He was a key contributor to the Shaq-led Lakers, and also one of the most likable players thanks to his playing style. Jones was a two-way player who could hit the outside shot and defend the ball very well, and he was the reason why Kobe Bryant was on the bench for his first few years in the league.
Divac had a reasonable stint with LA, but most remember him for being the bargaining chip to bring the legendary Kobe Bryant to the Lakers. Divac ended up being a very nice player and is currently the GM of the Kings, and he deserves a spot on the list. Finally, A.C. Green is a respected power forward who would give you 10-7 every night while showing off his hustle and energy. Green earned the monicker “The Ironman” for his ability to stay healthy, play in consecutive games, and give it his all on the floor. His ability to play hard will surely get him recognition in building the final team.
My perfect all-time Lakers starting five: Kobe Bryant ($5), LeBron James ($5), Dwight Howard ($2), Ron Artest ($2), A.C. Green ($1)