Lakers History: The Five Greatest Lakers Power Forwards
Pau Gasol, 2010 NBA Finals, Lakers
John W. McDonough-Sports Illustrated

Originally Published on April 18, 2012

The Los Angeles Lakers have had a plethora of dominant big men, but most of them have been centers and not power forwards. That said, the position has changed dramatically over time as today’s players are much more athletic and agile.

5. Robert Horry

Robert Horry was never a player to score 30 points a game or one to dominate the ball. However, you can be sure Horry wanted to shoot the final shot of the game. He made living off making clutch shots in the post-season and will always be remembered for his cold-blooded jumpers.

Horry was a key player in the Lakers’ three-peat in the early 2000s and Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal could always rely on him to hit game-winners.  Horry spent seven seasons with the Lakers and in that time he averaged 6.3 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.

The Lakers may not have won those three titles if it weren’t for Horry. He was always ready to deliver when the game was on the line and everyone will remember the game-winning three he had over the Sacramento Kings.

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4. Kurt Rambis

Kurt Rambis was the ultimate glue guy and he was never worried about how his stats looked like at the end of games. Every championship team needs a player like Rambis, and luckily for the Showtime era, it had him on four title squads.

The coaching staff could rely on Rambis to do the dirty work on the court and he always put the team over self. Rambis never demanded the ball and could make a major impact on the game without scoring ten points. If the Lakers needed a rebound, Rambis would get it and if the team needed to score, he would do everything in his power to allow that to happen.

Rambis spent nine seasons with the Lakers and averaged 4.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. His contributions to the four title teams may never earn him a retired jersey, but they would never have happened if he had not played.

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3. A.C. Green

A.C. Green personified the term ‘Iron Man.’ Green would battle through injuries and setbacks and you could be sure that he would find his way on the court. Despite that, Green stayed healthy throughout most of his NBA career.

A.C. Green was drafted by the Lakers with the 23rd pick in the 1985 NBA Draft.  Green made an immediate impact on the Lakers in his first few years in the NBA and helped the team win the 1987 and 1988 Finals. Green worked alongside some of the franchise greats and earned respect from the veteran leaders.

After a hiatus away from the Lakers, Green returned to Los Angeles and this time he was the mentor for the young stars. In 2000, under the guidance of Green, the Lakers won another NBA championship with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal as the stars.

Green spent nine seasons with the Lakers and only missed three games in that stretch.

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2. Lamar Odom

Although the Los Angeles Lakers and Lamar Odom had a sour parting before the season started, Odom’s contributions to the team were remarkable. Although rumors have been surfacing saying Odom may end up back with the Lakers, he has already made his case as one of the best power forwards this franchise has seen.

Odom was no doubt the most versatile Laker on the roster and he could play virtually any position. He willingly took the role of Sixth Man and relished at the position. He never complained about not starting and would do whatever it took to help the team win championships.

Odom quickly became one of the most beloved Lakers and fans were always behind the forward. After being traded to the Dallas Mavericks, Odom was given a lengthy standing ovation by the Staples Center crowd and it showed just how much he meant to the fan base.

Lamar Odom spent seven seasons with the Lakers, won two consecutive championships and averaged 13.7 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.

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1. Pau Gasol

It is quite special to see two players of the same generation rank one and two on these lists and it is even more extraordinary to see a player who spent five seasons with the team as the top dog. However, Pau Gasol, no doubt deserves this spot as he changed the fate of the Lakers overnight.

The Lakers acquired Gasol near the trading deadline of the 2007-2008 season and he made the team into an instant title contender. Los Angeles ended up in the Finals that same season, but they lost to the Boston Celtics in six games. However, Gasol toughened up his game and made an effort to be the second option for the Lakers.

As a result of the new Gasol, the Lakers won back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010. Kobe Bryant finally received a dominant big man and the addition of Gasol was perhaps the biggest trade the Lakers had made in a very long time.

Gasol is currently in his fifth season with the Lakers and is averaging 18.4 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. Hopefully, Gasol remains with this team for the long-term and further solidifies his place among the Lakers greats.

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