As one of the most successful teams in NBA history, the Los Angeles Lakers, or even the original Minneapolis Lakers, find themselves at the back half of the draft more often than not. Still, the Lakers often drafted strong talent with their draft picks throughout the years, especially when Jerry West was GM and President. West put together the Showtime Lakers and the subsequent dynasty led by Kobe Bryant.

The NBA Draft is a mixed bag for most teams, and the Lakers are no exception for the most part. However, they have found some NBA Draft steals. We will not be including players that were traded to the Lakers on draft night, so Kobe Bryant will not be on this list as he was technically drafted by the Charlotte Hornets. As the Lakers prepare for the 2023 NBA Draft, let's look at the five greatest NBA Draft steals in Lakers franchise history.

5.  Derek Fisher

Derek Fisher never put up All-Star numbers in 18 NBA seasons, but his importance to the late 1990s and 2000s cannot go unnoticed.

The 24th pick of the 1996 NBA Draft out of small-school Arkansas-Little Rock, Fisher served as the Lakers starting point guard alongside Bryant for five of the Lakers' championships. He put up modest stats of 7.9 points and 2.9 assists per game in his career with the team. However, his leadership and penchant for making big shots far outpaced his late-first-round draft position.

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4. Nick Van Exel

Any time you can draft an All-Star with the 37th pick of the draft, you know you're doing something right. That was the case with Cincinnati point guard Nick Van Exel, who the Lakers drafted in the second round in 1993. It didn't make headline news in Los Angeles at the time, but it turned out to be a huge deal.

Van Exel only played five seasons before the Lakers traded him to Denver. But in those five seasons, the 6-foot-1 guard averaged 14.9 points, 7.3 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game while shooting 36.4 percent from deep and making the All-Star Game in 1998.

3. A.C. Green 

Much like Fisher, A.C. Green didn't put up gaudy numbers throughout his career. However, the 23rd pick of the 1985 draft was an integral part of three Laker championships and was a consistent force in the frontcourt.

Green has one All-Star appearance and one All-NBA Defensive Team selection to his name, but perhaps his greatest accomplishment is missing only three games throughout his 16-year NBA career. He only missed three total out of 1,281 games. Only nine of those 16 seasons were with the Lakers, but it's impressive, nonetheless.

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2. Clyde Lovellette

An unfamiliar name for Lakers fans today, Clyde Lovellette was the 10th player picked in the 1952 draft. Today, the 10th pick may not seem like a draft steal, but when you consider there were teams in the league at the time, Lovellette being the last pick of the first round changes the perspective a bit.

A big 6-foot-9 center out of the University of Kansas, Lovellette only played four seasons with the Minneapolis Lakers. However, in his last two seasons in particular, he was a legitimate star averaging over 20 points and 13 rebounds per game in both seasons.

1. Michael Cooper

One of the best defensive players of the 1980s was selected by the Lakers in the third round (60th overall) back in 1978. The perfect sixth man for the Showtime Lakers, Green won five championships with LA, was named to the All-Defensive Team eight times and was named league Defensive Player of the year in 1987.

The 6-foot-5 shooting guard played all 12 of his NBA seasons with the Lakers and, despite modest scoring numbers, is the biggest draft steal in team history. Now put that in your Lakers news and smoke it.