Who makes our list of the best signings the Lakers have made under Mitch Kupchak's guidance?
They have had unparalleled success throughout the entire course of the NBA but it does not entitle them to the best players and Finals appearances all the time. Now more than ever Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak must be creative and resourceful with the draft, free agency and trades to construct a team ready for another championship run.
To encourage Lakers fans, here are Kupchak’s best signings:
Derek Fisher has played thirteen full seasons for the team he was drafted by in 1996 alongside Kobe Bryant. He left for Golden State Warriors after the Shaq/Kobe axis had broken down but Mitch knew the importance of bringing him back for a second spell in 2007. As the oldest member of the team he played a key role as the team veteran. His leadership and his close relationship with Kobe propelled the Lakers to three successive Finals.
Metta World Peace
The Lakers were coming off of a championship winning season in 2009, and Kupchak choose Ron Artest as he was still known to replace Trevor Ariza on the wing. His stifling defence on the likes of Paul Pierce and his timely, if inconsistent, offense were key in the game seven victory over Boston Celtics in the 2010 Finals.
Before the trade deadline in 2008 Pau was acquired from the Memphis Grizzlies with a second round draft pick in exchange for Marc Gasol, two first round draft picks, Kwame Brown Javaris Critteron and Aaron Mckie. Famous for being one of the most lopsided trades in NBA history it basically handed the Lakers the championship. Although Marc Gasol would become a fine player in his own right, but he was an NBA rookie at the time while Pau was already a finished product and all-star.
Odom was shipped off to the Dallas Mavericks for a first round draft pick in 2011. Bargain you might say, until you learn that his performance dropped off so steeply the next season that he was made inactive for the final 20 games. He was struggling with personal issues and the suspicion is that the Lakers knew the extent of the distractions. A brief look at his stats show he was drastically worse in virtually every department. He hasn’t come close to recapturing his Lakers form since.
Selected with the number 10 pick in the 2005 draft, the centre would blossom into an elite NBA big man with a fine arsenal of offensive weapons. He was vital in their 2010 championship run and he was sorely missed against the Celtics in the 2008 Finals where his size and ability would’ve undoubtedly troubled Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins more than his stand in, Vladimir Radmanovic.
He also became the bargaining chip used to bring Dwight Howard to the Staples Center, albeit only for a single season.