OTG's All-Decade Team: Los Angeles Lakers Edition
The Los Angeles Lakers are the most dominant franchise in NBA history. Sorry Celtics fans, but the Purple and Gold have 10 championships since the ABA merger, thoroughly outpacing the 4 from Bean-town.
But who have been their best players over the last decade? The 2010s were not especially kind to the Lakers, but this all-decade team would have really made for a special on-court product.
Guard - Kobe Bryant
I’m sorry to all of the Marcelo Huertas fans; I will be expecting your hate mail in my inbox. Kobe may not have been in his prime during this decade, and he did struggle with injuries, but even a hobbled Kobe still performs better than most NBA players. Also, who can forget his historic, 60-point final game. The 2000’s was Kobe’s decade, and the following decade saw him ride into the sunset with style.
Forward - LeBron James
From one icon to another. If you had told me five years ago that LeBron would end up in LA, I would have pinched myself, or called you a bald-faced liar. LeBron is the captain for this current era of resurgence for the Lakers, and at 34 years old, is still reminding us that he is one of the greats. While the bulk of his success has come in Miami and Cleveland during the past 10 years, he has a freight train of a squad with him this year, and is looking to hang another banner in the Staples Center rafters.
Center - Dwight Howard
Before an angry mob forms outside my house, let me clarify: Anthony Davis and Pau Gasol are not centers - they are forwards who can also play at the five-spot. Looking back, the only true centers that the Lakers had during the past decade have been JaVale Magee, Chris Kaman, and Robert Sacre. Remember that Dwight’s current campaign on the Lakers is not his first; he was on the squad in the 2012-2013 season and averaged 17 points and 12 rebounds a game. Andrew Bynum had similar stats in the 2010-2011 season, his last for the Lakers, but since Dwight gets the nod since he has more time logged with the team in this decade.
Role Player - Kyle Kuzma
For a 27th overall pick, this Kuz guy ain’t so bad. The Lakers gambled, and by many metrics, lost in drafting Lonzo Ball 2nd overall in the 2017 draft. However, they struck gold in Kuzma, who has potential to be an All-Star in the coming years.
Wildcard - Appeal to Free Agents
If the Lakers didn’t have the appeal of L.A. and historic teams on their side, they would still be riding the coat-tails of Jodie Meeks and Timofey Mozgov. Once LeBron joined the squad, people like Rajon Rondo, Danny Green, and most recently Anthony Davis have hopped on board.
High Point - Signing LeBron
The first domino to fall in a long line of future success.
Low Point - Post Kobe Era
This can also apply to the late Kobe years. The Lakers struggled to establish an identity during the twilight of the Mamba’s career.
Next Era Prediction - Ring(zzz)
You can only go up from last season (37-45), and from what we see now, the Lakers look like they have an era on their hands that could add a few banners to their rafters.