Slowly but surely, the Los Angeles Lakers' rebuild continues. Magic Johnson is in to run the show alongside Jeanie Buss, the young core of D'Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, and Julius Randle is progressing well, and there's hope that marquee free agents will begin to consider the Lakers in free agency again. What feels like a decade-long rebuild that's seen the worst seasons in franchise history is, more than likely, approaching its end sooner rather than later.
But as the Lakers' rebuild continued and the previous regime tried to find players who could help Kobe Bryant win one last title (remember when the Lakers had Carlos Boozer!?), we saw former All-Stars and...forgettable names at best strap up in the purple and gold. Anyone remember Earl Clark? How about Tarik Black?
Today, we're going to take a look at NBA players who, at some point this decade, played with the Lakers and aren't really remembered; whether it be because of team drama, the rebuild, or simply them not playing well, some of the names on this list will make you say, "wait, when did THEY play for the Lakers?"
Put simply, it's been a long few years at the Staples Center if you're a fan of the purple and yellow, especially when you had to watch these guys take the court against powerhouse teams like the Warriors, Heat, Cavaliers, Thunder, and Spurs. We say that with all due respect, but again, be prepared to be shocked when you remember these 15 players spent time in a Lakers uniform.
15 Luke Walton
It'd be beyond wrong to start this list off without Luke Walton, the current head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers - and a man who hasn't aged a single day in the past two decades. Still only 36 years of age, the second-round pick of the Lakers in 2003 actually played all but the final 71 games of his career in purple and yellow, winning the 2009 and 2010 NBA Finals in the process. It's easy to forget Walton had a playing career because, really, the guy rarely was a key contributor for the Lakers.
With the exception of the 2006-07 season where he started 60 games and averaged 33 minutes, Walton averaged more than 20 minutes a game only once - recording 23.4 minutes in 2007-08 for the Western Conference champions - and had 125 of his career 138 starts from 2006-2009. At least Walton still has his looks!
14 Vander Blue
By not making his hair blue and getting blue contacts, Vander Blue blew (no pun intended) a big chance in the marketing aspect of his career. It's easy to forget Blue's time in Los Angeles, seeing as he only spent the final two games of the 2014-15 season with the Lakers as a result of how injured the team's guards were, but the former Marquette star nearly recorded a triple-double in that second game, putting up 15 points, seven rebounds, and eight assists in a 22 point loss to the Sacramento Kings.
Perhaps if Blue had gone with the hair dye, he'd have completed the triple-double! Now, Blue is hanging around in the D-League - on the Lakers' affiliate, interestingly enough - and made his third straight All-Star Game last month.
13 Jodie Meeks
It feels like Jodie Meeks has been around a lot longer than the 2009-10 season, but that may because of his face. With all due respect, Jodie Meeks always looks older than he really is. Any age version of Meeks would have been appreciated when he was in Los Angeles, as he spent the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons with the Lakers, averaging 11.8 points on .435 percent shooting from the field in 155 games - 80 of those, the bulk of which came as Kobe Bryant's injury replacement, being starts - with 2.4 assists and 7.5 total Win Shares.
With the Lakers in 2013, Meeks also had a career-high 1.8 Value Over Replacement Players (VORP) which led the team, even moreso than Pau Gasol's 1.3 VORP. It was a rough year in Los Angeles, what else can we say?
12 Troy Murphy
Troy Murphy has a very special spot in the hearts of Brooklyn Nets fans not for his mediocre play during the 2010-11 season (back when the team was still in New Jersey), but because the 2012 NBA Draft pick the Nets sent with him to Golden State was used on...Draymond Green. The general manager who sent that pick to the Warriors? Billy 'Kill Me Now' King.
Murphy didn't even play a single game with the Warriors, spending the rest of that season with the Celtics! Thanks, Billy King. Murphy played 59 games with the Lakers during the 2011-12 season, Murphy averaged 3.2 points in 16.2 minutes per game with 3.2 rebounds off the bench. Really, Murphy didn't do much for the Lakers that season, but at least he's the answer to a valuable piece of New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets trivia. Thanks, Billy King!
11 Kent Bazmore
Jokingly called Kent 'Blazemore' by Lakers fans during his quick stint in purple and yellow, Bazemore wasn't in Los Angeles as long as people seem to think. In fact, Bazemore only spent a 23 game stint with the Lakers in the 2013-14 season. Starting 15 of those games, Bazemore showed flashes of the dynamic scoring threat he'd become with the Atlanta Hawks, averaging 13.1 points per game in 28 minutes with the Lakers; Bazemore also added 3.1 assists and 3.3 rebounds a night on that dismal team.
While some will argue that Bazemore's stats were inflated because the team was so dreadful, there were nights where the most dominant player on the floor was indeed the Old Dominion product. Show the Celtics what you're made of,
10 Trevor Ariza
Trevor Ariza has, quite literally, been around the world, playing for six different organizations in his fourteen NBA seasons. Regardless of where he finishes, the 31-year old remains best known for his two year stint with the Los Angeles Lakers and for being a vital contributor to their 2009 NBA Finals run. Fans who remember how dominant Dwight Howard was in those 2009 NBA Playoffs for the Orlando Magic will also remember Ariza's gritty performance in Game Four of the NBA Finals when the California product racked up nine rebounds and scored 13 points in the third quarter.
In total, Ariza averaged 8.3 points per game in 106 appearances with the Lakers, only 23 of which were starts. Things may not have ended perfectly between Ariza and the Lakers, but he'll always have that moment, at least.
9 Shawne Williams
Not to be confused with Sean 'Area 51' Williams, a former first-round pick of the Jason Kidd-era New Jersey Nets, Shawne Williams is probably best known for the 2010-11 season he spent with the New York Knicks. Coming off the bench for Mike D'Antoni's squad, Williams averaged a career-high 7.1 points per game on .426 shooting from the field and a .401 mark from behind the arc in 64 games.
A few years later, Williams was another member of that hard-to-watch 2013-14 Lakers team, averaging 5.6 points and a career-best 4.6 rebounds per game in 36 games, 13 of which were starts. By no means were those spectacular numbers, but on that team, any type of positive contributions were accepted. Not having a healthy Kobe Bryant really ruined the Lakers, especially given the talent on that roster.
8 Josh McRoberts
Another guy who it feels like really has been around forever even though he only recently turned 30 last month, Josh McRoberts apparently spent a year with the Los Angeles Lakers and played off the bench during the 2011-12 season. By no means was McRoberts fancy or putting up close to All-Star numbers, as the Duke alum averaged 2.8 points and 3.4 rebounds a night, though it is important to note that those stats were coming in 14.4 minutes a game.
If you push those numbers up to per 36 minutes, that's 6.9 points and 8.6 rebounds, which isn't at all bad. One of the reasons McRoberts didn't have to average 20 minutes a night, you ask? Andrew Bynum was actually healthy!
7 Matt Barnes
Off the court, Barnes has had plenty of incidents that range from a domestic violence abuse in 2010 against wife Gloria Govan - who, as some of you will remember, was a key member on VH1's Basketball Wives - and a physical confrontation with former teammate and then-New York Kicks coach Derek Fisher in 2015.Barnes spent the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons with the Lakers, averaging a career-high 5.5 rebounds in the latter season and at least six and a half points each year.
Though Barnes never was spectacular, he was a solid bench player, one that the Lakers really missed when the former UCLA Bruin crossed town to play with the Clippers. The Lakers may have had a big three with Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, and Pau Gasol in 2012, but the lack of a bench was a key reason why they barely snuck into the postseason.
6 Chris Kaman
Like Negan, Chris Kaman is everywhere - or, at the very least, has been everywhere. Since spending the first nine seasons of his career with the Los Angeles Clippers, Kaman has bounced around in New Orleans, Dallas, Los Angeles - but this time, with the Lakers - and Portland, where he currently resides. Let's talk about Kaman's 2013-14 season with the Lakers, though, because when he was actually on the court, the 2010 All-Star (no, seriously, that happened) was an above-average front-court contributor.
Kaman averaged 10.4 points and 5.9 rebounds for the Lakers, though injuries and a bout with food poisoning limited his season to only 39 games. In recent years, Kaman has served as a veteran presence on a young Trail Blazers team, but has missed the majority of this season after the loss of his father last year.
5 Wesley Johnson
For Syracuse fans, Wesley Johnson still remains a fan favorite, a hero after leading the Orange to the Sweet 16 in the 2009-10 season. For fans of the Timberwolves, Suns, Lakers, and Clippers, Johnson gets a nod at best and a shrug at worst because his NBA career has been less than memorable. In fact, it's easy to forget that the former Big East Player of the Year spent two years with the Lakers, scoring a career-high 9.9 points per game with 4.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game during the 2014-15 season.
Now across the Staples Center with the Clippers, Johnson never became the star that Syracuse fans thought he would be after everything he did with the Orangemen, but the 29-year-old is still evolving into a valuable bench piece for Doc Rivers. If the Clippers hope to move past the first round this year, Johnson may be a lowkey option off the bench.
4 Wayne Ellington
We can't really make any sort of witty joke or pun to start this section off because Wayne Ellington's time with the Lakers was marred in tragedy, as his father was shot and killed in Philadelphia shortly after the 2014-15 season started. To Ellington's credit, he returned to the basketball court not long afterwards and had one of his best seasons, averaging double-digit points for the second time in his career and notching career-high averages in rebounds (3.2) and assists (1.6); Ellington also hit .370 of his shots from behind the arc.
It was a forgettable season for the Lakers, especially after Kobe Bryant's injury in January 2015, but Ellington had games where one could move past the rebuilding stage and at least try to imagine the purple and gold were headed for another NBA Finals appearance. Hope is all that the Lakers fans needed then, and it's something that they still need now.
3 Antawn Jamison
A two-time All-Star, Antawan Jamison is best known for two things: his career with the Washington Wizards, where he and Gilbert Arenas (pre-gun incidents) formed a prolific offense, and being a member of the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers team - the first post-LeBron season - that lost 26 straight games. After his time in Cleveland ended following the 2011-12 season and Jamison decided he didn't want to retire yet, the 2004 Sixth Man of the Year linked up with Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in an attempt to finally win a ring.
Unfortunately for Jamison, things didn't start out too well in Los Angeles, with coach Mike D'Antoni not being a fan of the veteran's defense and continuously keeping him on the bench. After relations with the new Lakers coach were fixed, Jamison would play 76 games that year, his highest since 81 in 2008-09 with the Wizards, but was held to a then-career low 9.4 points per game and 21.5 minutes per game. Jamison stayed in Los Angeles for his final season in 2013-14, but it was with the Clippers.
2 Ed Davis
Another member of the 2014-15 Lakers team that turned out to be nothing more than pawns in King Kobe Bryant's penultimate season, Ed Davis used the nightmare campaign to his advantage, averaging 8.3 points and a career-high 7.6 rebounds in 79 games (24 starts) for the down-trodden Lakers. At times in a weak frontcourt, Davis stood out enough to where, come the offseason, he could sign a three-year, $20 million dollar contract with the upstart Portland Trail Blazers.
Davis wasn't spectacular and he wasn't a gamechanger with the Lakers, but one does have to give him credit for accepting the 'face of the offense' role when Bryant was ruled out for the season and becoming a vital member of the Lakers. Many fans, actually, wanted Davis to stay and be a long-term piece, something they're probably still wishing with how the Timofey Mozgov experiment is working out.
1 MarShon Brooks
Who? Brooklyn Nets fans will surely remember MarShon Brooks, a first-round pick of the Celtics in 2011 who came to New Jersey on draft night and almost immediately became a fan favorite. But, as the team started to win games and have championship aspirations - not to mention Brooks not meshing well with coach Avery Johnson - the Providence guard became a forgotten man and was dealt back to the Celtics as part of the
trade that shall not be mentioned Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce deal.
Those wondering about what Brooks has to do with the Lakers, it goes like this: Brooks played 18 games with the Lakers in the 2013-14 season after things didn't work out with the Celtics and Warriors, shooting a career-high .489 percent from the field with 6.4 points in 18 games. That's it. No grand parade, no 'Brooks is the savior'; only 18 games and Brooks was off to Italy and China.
Which former Lakers do you vaguely remember playing in Hollywood? Make sure to let us know in the comment section below!