Ahead of the 2019-20 season, five members of our NBA.com Staff are holding fantasy drafts for different franchises to see who can build the best team.
First up were the Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs. Today, we're looking at the Los Angeles Lakers.
The rules of the draft were simple:
- Each team selected five starters, one sixth man and a head coach
- Every player and coach who has represented the franchise since 1948-49 was available
- One specific season had to be selected for each player and the season selected could only be from their time with the franchise (i.e. what LeBron James did as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat doesn't count)
- It was a snake draft, meaning the pick order was reversed each round
Below are the results from our draft, followed by an explanation from each member about why they made the picks they did.
1. Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles)
2. Micah Adams (@MicahAdams13)
3. Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_)
4. Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21)
5. Carlan Gay (@TheCarlanGay)
The order was then reversed each round.
1. Magic Johnson - 1989-90 season
2. Shaquille O'Neal - 1999-00 season
3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - 1975-76 season
4. Kobe Bryant - 2008-09 season
5. LeBron James - 2018-19 season
6. Wilt Chamberlain - 1968-69 season
7. Elgin Baylor - 1962-63 season
8. Jerry West - 1968-69 season
9. George Mikan - 1950-51 season
10. James Worthy - 1987-88 season
11. Pau Gasol - 2008-09 season
12. Gail Goodrich - 1974-75 season
13. Lamar Odom - 2010-11 season
14. Andrew Bynum - 2011-12 season
15. Michael Cooper - 1986-87 season
16. Byron Scott - 1987-88 season
17. Jamaal Wilkes - 1979-80 season
18. Robert Horry - 2001-02 season
19. Eddie Jones - 1997-98 season
20. A.C. Green - 1988-89 season
21. Derek Fisher - 2001-02 season
22. Nick Van Exel - 1994-95 season
23. Metta World Peace - 2009-10 season
24. Norm Nixon - 1981-82 season
25. Mychal Thompson - 1988-89 season
26. Steve Nash - 2012-13 season
27. Glen Rice - 1999-00 season
28. Kyle Kuzma - 2017-18 season
29. Cedric Ceballos - 1994-95 season
30. Phil Jackson
31. Rick Fox - 2000-01
32. Pat Riley
33. Paul Westhead
34. Del Harris
35. Mike Brown
Starting Lineup: Magic Johnson, Derek Fisher, James Worthy, A.C. Green, Pau Gasol
Sixth Man: Rick Fox
Head Coach: Phil Jackson
My team has a little bit of everything.
It starts with Magic Johnson, who won his third MVP award in the 1989-90 season with averages of 22.3 points, 11.5 assists and 6.6 rebounds per game.
Pairing Johnson with James Worthy and Pau Gasol, whom I picked with my second and third pick, was an easy decision. Worthy won three championships alongside Johnson in Los Angeles and was named Finals MVP in 1988, saving his best for last with a 36-point, 16-rebound, 11-assist triple-double in Game 7 against the Detroit Pistons. Gasol in his prime, meanwhile, had the skills to play with just about anyone, with him being an efficient scorer at the centre position who could rebound and pass at a high rate.
To round out my starting five, I went with Derek Fisher, who made 41.3% of his 5.0 3-point attempts per game in the 2001-02 season, and the Iron Man himself for defence and rebounding.
All that was left was to select the greatest Lakers coach of all-time in Phil Jackson and another three-time champion to come off the bench in Rick Fox.
Put it all together, and I'm confident there's no beating this all-time Lakers team.
Starting Lineup: Nick Van Exel, Gail Goodrich, Eddie Jones, George Mikan, Shaquille O'Neal
Sixth Man: Cedric Ceballos
Head Coach: Pat Riley
Shaq over Kareem?
If it's longevity, it's Kareem. But based off one season alone, give me MVP Diesel at his best dump-trucking any and all challengers.
The MVP award didn't even exist yet when George Mikan ruled the league, but make no mistake, he was the first transcendent NBA star and would have won multiple MVPs.
Mikan alongside Shaq? Good luck stopping that.
Gail Goodrich and Steady Eddie Jones are as reliable as they come, while Nick Van Exel - who STILL holds the Lakers record for most made 3s in single season - would feast off of those double teams in the paint. Cedric Ceballos is the high-flyer every team needs for a nice injection of energy off the bench.
Pat Riley would be licking his chops with this group.
Starting Lineup: Lamar Odom, Jerry West, Metta World Peace, Robert Horry, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Sixth Man: Kyle Kuzma
Head Coach: Paul Westhead
With Magic Johnson and Shaquille O'Neal off the board, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was an easy selection with the third overall pick. When the NBA's all-time leading scorer falls to you at No. 3, you take him.
Jerry West was the best guard available at my second pick and again, you cannot pass on the logo when you can get him with a second-round pick. Lamar Odom was originally drafted to be my sixth man, but late round selections have slid him to my starting point guard. I grabbed Robert Horry - a seven-time champion - for championship experience and selected Metta World Peace as a lockdown defender to toughen up the roster.
Lastly, I took a flyer on promising young forward Kyle Kuzma, who will be a great sixth man and microwave off the bench, adding some much needed scoring to fill out my roster.
Starting Lineup: Norm Nixon, Kobe Bryant, Elgin Baylor, Jamaal Wilkes, Andrew Bynum
Sixth Man: Glen Rice
Head Coach: Del Harris
With a franchise as storied as the Lakers, you really can't go wrong in the top five, and I was fortunate to have the only player to have more than one number retired fall to me at No. 4. I had to go with the 2008-09 version of Kobe, motivated from a Finals loss to win his first title without Shaquille O'Neal.
Next it was Elgin Baylor, who is one of the 50 Greatest Players of All-Time. He averaged 34.0 points and 14.3 boards per game in the 1962-63 season.
With the number of available centres dwindling, I went with Andrew Bynum's best year, a season that saw him put up 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per game as he earned All-NBA honours for the only time in his career.
To round out my starting unit, I went with Jamaal Wilkes, who averaged 20.3 points and 8.0 rebounds in the Lakers' 1980 title run, at forward and Norm Nixon, who averaged 20.1 points and 8.4 assists per game in the 1982 title run.
I closed things by taking Glen Rice to be my sixth man. At 33, Rice was a big contributor to the Lakers 2000 title as he averaged 12.4 points and 4.0 rebounds while shooting 41.8% from deep over 23 postseason games.
Del Harris, who coached the Lakers as they first featured Kobe and Shaq, was a no-brainer for me to lead this team to new heights
Starting Lineup: Steve Nash, Michael Cooper, Byron Scott, LeBron James, Wilt Chamberlain
Sixth Man: Mychal Thompson
Head Coach: Mike Brown
I'm not happy with my team. Going into this, I thought I would've had more fun drafting from a franchise that has so many great players, but it ended up being more stressful than it should've been.
My first two picks were LeBron James and Wilt Chamberlain. While both of their collective careers are Hall of Fame worthy, they as Lakers aren't as great as you may have thought.
Wilt's 1968-69 season was an All-Star year in which he averaged 20.5 points and led the league in rebounding at 21.1 per game. Of course, blocks weren't recorded back then but he probably would've been near the top of the league in that category too. Those are great numbers but remember we're talking about Wilt Chamberlain here, a dude who averaged 50 and 25 one year.
LeBron's lone season in L.A. was fine when you look at his averages of 27.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 8.3 assists per game. Anyone would kill for those numbers but it's LeBron, so we just nonchalantly read them and keep it moving.
I was happy to grab Michael Cooper with my third pick. We're getting the Defensive Player of the Year and someone who can run in the open floor if need be. I followed that up with Byron Scott, who also got out and ran a ton and found a way to be more efficient with more touches and field goal attempts in 1987-88.
Steve Nash and Mychal Thompson round out my squad. Nash was washed by the time he was in L.A. but he's Canadian - that trumps everything for me. Thompson didn't have his best season with the Lakers but was still a solid contributor on a team that made the Finals in 1988-89.
Not much to say about Mike Brown being the head coach other than I had the last pick. What'd you expect?
I know my team didn't win this draft going by win shares, but having a motivated LeBron and Wilt, we'd win a few games regardless of who was around them.
One way to compare these teams is by adding up the win shares from each player on each roster from the season selected.
Based on that, the Shaquille O'Neal and George Mikan-led Team Micah came out on top with 69.2 wins. Team Gil finished second with 60.7 wins, followed by Team Scott with 58.3 wins.
|1. Team Micah||69.2|
|2. Team Gil||60.7|
|3. Team Scott||58.3|
|4. Team Kyle||53.2|
|5. Team Carlan||48.2|
Do you agree? Cast your vote below for which all-time Lakers team you think is the best!
The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.