Having won no less than 16 NBA titles in their history, you can be sure that the Los Angeles Lakers have had their fair share of great players. From Jerry West to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Kobe Bryant to LeBron James — the list goes on.
It would probably take us all day to list down the greatest players in team history, and even longer to debate on their ranking. Instead, what we shall be embarking on today is an attempt to rank the best power forwards this storied franchise has ever had. Surely, this should narrow down our options, thereby coming up with (hopefully) a more accurate ranking system.
3. Lamar Odom (2004 – 11)
These days, Lamar Odom is more known for his infamous battle against addiction. Thankfully, the 6-foot-10 power forward was able to survive a life-threatening bout against substance abuse, and now appears to be doing well in his road to recovery.
In his prime, however, Odom was a beast. He is a two-time NBA champion with the Lakers, playing a pivotal role in that historic back-to-back championship run in 2009 and 2010. Having been a starter his entire career, then head coach Phil Jackson shifted Odom to a bench role in order to accommodate newcomer Pau Gasol. This was where Odom would shine, even winning the Sixth Man of the Year title in 2011.
Odom holds career averages of 13.7 points (on 49.1 percent shooting), 9.5 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.9 blocks, and 0.7 triples in seven seasons with L.A.
2. Pau Gasol (2007 – 14)
Odom was huge for the Lakers off the bench, but Pau Gasol played a much bigger role for L.A. in those two championship-winning seasons. Gasol was the Robin to Kobe Bryant’s Batman, and it would be hard to argue against the notion that had it not been for Gasol, the Lakers may not have won either of those championships. That’s how important the Spaniard was for the team.
Gasol was called up to the All-Star squad in three consecutive seasons while with L.A., as he averaged 17.7 points (on 52.2 percent shooting), 8.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 0.5 steals, and 1.8 blocks in seven seasons with the Lakers.
1. LeBron James (2018 – present)
First off, we’re putting LeBron James on here simply because Basketball Reference lists power forward as his primary position. We all know that James can pretty much play every position on the court except the five spot (or could he?), but just because he is a PF first, then there’s no way we were going to keep him out of this list.
Granted, LeBron has yet to prove anything as a Laker. He had a disappointing, injury-riddled debut campaign last season, and while he has been outstanding this term, the fact that this season is currently up in the air does not bode well for James’ legacy in L.A.
Nevertheless, LeBron is widely regarded as one of the greatest NBA players of all-time, and based on what we’ve seen this season thus far, he appears to be well on his way to bringing back the Purple & Gold to glory. Time may be (slowly) running out on the 35-year-old, but we’re pretty certain that he’ll be up there with the best of them once it is all said and done.