The 2010s for the Los Angeles Lakers was a decade defined by inconsistency never before seen in team history.
The Lakers started the decade by winning the 2010 NBA Finals, dropping all the way to the basement, getting the No. 2 pick in the NBA Draft for three straight seasons, then finding their way back to championship contention with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Through it all, certain role players have defined the Lakers, whether it be through specific memorable moments or their overall solid play.
To clarify, these rankings begin in January 2010, so the championship roster is eligible. Other than that, the only players disqualified are Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the entirety of the now-defunct young core.
Here are the top-10 role players of the 2010s:
No. 10: Alex Caruso
This seems like a prisoner of the moment type ranking, but Caruso has the distinction of being one of just three players to be on the roster now and before James’ arrival. In his three seasons with Los Angeles, Caruso has played in almost 100 games despite being on a two-way deal for two of those seasons. Caruso was the team’s first two-way player and has immediately proven the success of that system, becoming a large piece on a contending Lakers team this season.
No. 9: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Putting Caldwell-Pope on this list may garner some criticism, but he has been a defining member on three completely different Lakers teams. He was a full-time starter averaging nearly 14 points a game in his first season, lost his starting job in his second season while still averaging 11.4 points, then became a pure three-and-D role player this season. Despite his bad shot selection and very public cold stretches, Caldwell-Pope has done good things in the purple and gold.
No. 8: Steve Blake
Blake was one of the longest-tenured role players of the decade, playing in 204 games over four seasons with the Lakers. Blake averaged 24 minutes per game over this time span, increasing his points per game every season he played with the team. He made the NBA playoffs in all of his three full seasons with the team and was one of the first to get traded when the rebuild began in 2014. Blake was an important piece for the Lakers and likely would never have been traded if not for the looming rebuild.
No. 7: Shannon Brown
Brown is on this list because of his spot as a fan favorite on two of the decade’s best Lakers teams. He is only at No. 7 because he was only on two Lakers teams this decade, leaving the team in 2011 NBA free agency. In his time with Los Ange;es this decade, he won a championship and played in every single game that he was on the roster for — never missing a game due to injury or any other reason. Fans will remember him for his highlight reel capabilities but at the end of the day, he was just the perfect role player on some great Lakers teams.
No. 6: Lou Williams
Williams did not have an extremely long Lakers tenure — 125 games in just two seasons — but in that time, he was a premier scorer for them. He averaged 16.8 points on 36.4 percent from the three-point line and while he never made the playoffs in the purple and gold, he did become one of the mainstays of the Lakers rebuilding era along with the next entry on this list.
No. 5: Sasha Vujacic
Vujacic was a Lakers staple in the decade and was only a part of two Lakers teams in the 2010s. However, what gives him such a high ranking on this list is the fact that he hit what are easily the most important free throws of the decade. Late in the fourth quarter of Game 7 against the Boston Celtics in the 2010 NBA Finals, Vujacic was brought in with the score being 81-79. Vujacic was fouled and sent to the line where he knocked down two free throws, making it a four-point game and sealing the team’s 16th championship. If that does not earn him a spot on this list, then nothing does.
No. 4: Derek Fisher
Fisher was only on three Lakers teams in this decade, but being the starting point guard on the 2010 championship team is worth just about everything. Fisher never stuffed the stat sheet in Los Angeles, but he was a locker room leader for that championship team and for the two seasons that followed, and that’s enough to earn him a spot on this list.
No. 3: Nick Young
Young is perhaps the player most synonymous with the team’s rebuilding process. He played four seasons with Los Angeles, averaging 13.1 points in 220 games. While he will likely be remembered for celebrating a shot before it even went in the basket… only to find out the shot missed, Young was a fixture for Lakers fans for a large chunk of this decade.
No. 2: Metta World Peace
With the exception of Bryant, nobody spent more time in a Lakers uniform this decade than World Peace. Joining the team after their 2009 championship, he spent six seasons with the Lakers, playing in 358 games during his tenure. He not only hit the three-pointer that helped the Lakers win the championship in Game 7 against the Celtics, but he also beat the buzzer in Game 5 against the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Finals to give them a 3-2 series lead. World Peace had a roller coaster of an NBA career, but his time with the Lakers was an unbelievable success, easily earning him a top-two spot on this list.
No. 1: Lamar Odom
Yes, Odom only spent just two seasons with the Lakers in this decade. However, there is no doubt he was one of the most impactful players on those two teams. He not only was integral in winning the Lakers their 2010 championship, but he also was the only Laker to take home a season award in the entire decade, winning the Sixth Man of the Year in 2011. Odom is one of the most beloved Lakers role players of all time and the work he did in just two seasons this decade is more than worthy of the top spot on this list.