The Lakers’ 5 biggest NBA draft busts in franchise history
Over the past five or six years, the Los Angeles Lakers have fared pretty well in the draft. Mostly because of the team’s horrible stretch of lottery seasons, they have had the opportunity to select some of the fastest rising stars in the NBA today. These include Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell, Larry Nance, Brandon Ingram, and Lozno Ball. While all five players have since moved on from the Purple & Gold, the Lakers have been able to get a ton of value out of their respective trade deals.
Nonetheless, the Lakers have also had some terrible decisions on draft day in the past. This team has a long list of draft busts, but we’ve narrowed down our list to the Top 5 worst draft selections the Lakers have ever had.
The Lakers used their 25th overall pick on 6-foot-10 point guard David Rivers in 1988. He played one season for L.A., averaging 2.9 points and 2.3 assists in 47 games before heading to the Los Angeles Clippers the following season. The fact that Rivers was selected late in the first round makes this less of a blow for the Lakers, but what makes this such a memorable loss for the franchise is the fact that Rivers would eventually have a legendary career in Europe after leaving the league permanently in 1992.
Much like Rivers, Sam Jacobson would also be a late first-round selection for the Lakers, going 26th overall in 1998. Rivers and Jacobson may have been a decade apart, but their fate was pretty much the same.
Jacobson played only two games in his rookie year, followed by three appearances in his sophomore campaign before the Lakers decided to pull the plug on this failed experiment. All in all, Jacobson averaged 3.6 points and 0.8 rebounds in just 6.0 minutes per game for the Purple & Gold.
Selected 29th overall by L.A. in 2000, Mark Madsen was a popular figure for Lakers supporters not because of his on-court performances, but mostly because of his contagious tenacity — mostly from the bench. He was a very passionate player, and was a great cheerleader for the squad, but unfortunately, he didn’t do much during his limited time on the floor.
In three seasons with the Lakers, Madsen would average 2.6 points and 2.6 rebounds in 11.3 minutes per contest. Nonetheless, he was part of L.A.’s title-winning runs in 2001 and 2002, making him a two-time NBA champ.
We have to go way back for the fourth name on our list. 6-foot-7 power forward Kenny Carr was drafted by the Lakers with a very high sixth overall pick in 1977, and unfortunately, it just didn’t pan out. Going this high obviously meant that the expectations were considerable for the NC State standout, but sadly, Carr was never able to live up to his billing.
As far as draft busts go, Javaris Crittenton just had to be at the very top of this list. L.A. picked him up at 19th overall in 2007, and after playing just 22 games with the team as a rookie, the Lakers would part ways with him in February of that season, sending him to the Memphis Grizzlies. This was perhaps his biggest contribution to the franchise, with Crittenton being part of the deal that sent Pau Gasol to the Lakers.
Not only did Crittenton have an unimpressive two-year NBA career, but to make matters worse, he is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence for voluntary manslaughter.