October 24, 2009

Top 10 Best Lakers of the Last Decade

I've followed Ball Don't Lie's series on the Top 10 players in the different positions in the NBA of the last decade and I was inspired to come up with my own list of the Top 10 Best Lakers of the Last Decade:

#1: Kobe Bryant - I guess there will be few arguments for this selection. Kobe was part of all the Lakers' 4 championships in the first decade of the 2000's and has won individual accolades as well. He scored 81 points in a game once and held the scoring title for a couple of years. His best season? Personally, I think it was the 2008-2009, when he led the Lakers to the championship.

#2: Shaquille O'Neal - The Big Aristotle was a monster even before the decade started but he won his lone MVP award as a Laker in 2000. He butted heads with almost everyone in the Lakers organization, but maintained his clown-like demeanor in public. But I still think Shaq's reached his peak wearing purple and gold, winning all the Finals MVP's in the Lakers' Dynasty run early in the decade.

#3: Derek Fisher - Derek Fisher's stats won't wow anyone, but he was the Lakers' locker room leader and silent #3 option in the Dynasty years.  Fish also provided some of the most clutch performances in the last decade. Who can forget the ".04" shot he made against the San Antonio Spurs in 2004 and the clutch three's he made against the Orlando Magic last year?

#4: Pau Gasol - Pau Gasol's career Laker is still young but he has been a great #2 option for the last couple of years. After getting slammed by the critics for his weak performance against the Celtics in the 2008 NBA Finals, Gasol toughened up and stood his ground against the towering Dwight Howard. Gasol's skill in the post and basketball IQ also supports his case as #4 in this list.

#5: Lamar Odom - Lamar Odom has made fans crazy with his inconsistency-- in one moment he's a versatile forward who can score, rebound, and facilitate the Triangle Offense with ease, in another, he's a lackadaisical player who disappears in the game. Whatever mode he's in, Odom is good for the top half of this list by his talent and solid numbers. Remember, he was one of the players who was traded for Shaquille O'Neal.

#6: Robert Horry - Like our #3 guy, "Big Shot Rob" gets in because of his intangibles. He lost a great deal of athleticism when the decade set it, so he relied on his wile and shooting to earn his place in the roster. Sacramento Kings fans will never forgive Horry for draining the 3 that sealed the Kings' fate in 2002.

#7: Andrew Bynum - Shaq's replacement? Hardly. But Andrew Bynum is still brimming with potential, despite his early injuries. He has shown flashes of becoming a dominant big man, but he's still enamored with scoring in the low blocks instead of patrolling the middle and letting the offense come to him. Thanks to his mentor, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bynum is slowly getting more polished by the day as he is just about to turn 22.

#8: Rick Fox - Rick Fox may be plying his trade in Hollywood right now, but his role during his Lakers days was the team's resident enforcer. His best statline of the decade was during the 2000-2001where he averaged 9.6 points, 4 rebounds, and 3.2 assists, but his tough play and defense were things that never showed in the scoreboard.

#9: Luke Walton - "Luuuuuuke" chants will always be a fan favorite but fans seems to have forgotten Walton was a solid #3 option when the Lakers' starting lineup consisted of Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Kwame Brown, Smush Parker, and Walton. If you ask me, if Luke Walton played in a different system, his lack of athleticism would make him an NBDL candidate. But thanks to his crafty passing and mastery of the Triangle, Walton's career is still going strong.

#10: Caron Butler - Butler only wore the Lakers jersey for only one season but he came up with above average stats that season (15.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.4 steals). The only problem then was that the Lakers missed the playoffs and the Bryant-Butler combo was deemed a failure. Butler was shipped to Washington for Kwame Brown, who was in turn, traded to Memphis for Pau Gasol.

So that's my list, the Top 10 Best Lakers of the Last Decade. Did I miss anyone? Feel free to chime in.

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