For most of their history, just the best players on earth have had the honor of wearing the purple and gold and playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. They’ve always been a synonym to winning and a luxurious lifestyle. At the end of the day, they’re Hollywood’s team.
The Lakers grew with that stigma and helped shape basketball culture in California, more specifically, in Los Angeles. Angelinos mostly grew idolizing the Lakers and dreaming of playing at Staples Center like Magic and Kareem once did.
For countless reasons, some of the best players born in Los Angeles never got the chance to actually suit up for the Lakers and they flourished elsewhere. But, how would the purple and gold fare if every NBA player played for their hometown?
PG: Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook was born in Long Beach and spent all his development years in California. In fact, he attended UCLA before making it to the league, so there were always rumors about his potential desire to eventually play for the Los Angeles Lakers. Needless to say, that hasn’t been the case thus far.
Westbrook is one of the most electrifying players the league has ever seen. He’s a one-man fastbreak, and his incredible athleticism often gives him a huge advantage over most point guards. He can take any player in the world one-on-one and fill the stat sheet on a nightly basis.
SG: James Harden
James Harden is one of the most unstoppable players in the history of the game. Like him or not, there’s absolutely no denying that he’s changing the game. Everybody knows what he’s going to do, yet no one’s able to stop him, not even forcing him to his right hand.
Harden was born and raised in Los Angeles and he’s often spotted there training during the offseason. He’s unlikely to ever join the Lakers but he’d definitely bring back the Showtime days with his fast-paced, flashy, and up-tempo kind of game.
SF: Paul George
Paul George was born in Palmdale and attended Fresno State. He grew up a diehard Kobe Bryant fan and some people thought he wanted to continue his legacy with the Lakers. However, turns out that he was actually a Clippers fan as well, so there’s that.
Ever since his breakout with the Pacers, George is one of the best, most dominating two-way players in the league. There are no flaws in his game. He’s yet to prove himself in the playoffs but talent-wise, there aren’t many players with George’s skill set.
PF: Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi Leonard also broke the hearts of countless Lakers fans when he decided to take his talents to the Clippers instead of teaming up with LeBron James, as everybody thought he was Laker-bound when he announced his desire to come back home to California.
Kawhi was born in Los Angeles and he attended high school in Moreno Valley and Riversdale before attending San Diego State, so yeah, he had strong ties with Cali. He went from being a solid defender to the best two-way player in the league, and the kind of guy that could turn the Lakers back into the dynasty they once were.
Center: Kevin Love
Kevin Love is the ultimate Angelino. I mean, his uncle was a member of The Beach Boys and he was born in Santa Monica. He also attended UCLA before becoming one of the best rebounders and scorers in the league during his prime.
Love is far from his old self but he’s still one of the steadiest, most reliable contributors in the league. He could give you a lot of versatility with his ability to knock down shots from beyond the arc, as well as a solid rebounding presence on both ends of the floor.