1. Pau Gasol
The Lakers have just won two straight titles and are looking to win their third straight this year. Perhaps the sole reason why the Lakers have become champions is because of the Spaniard, Pau Gasol.
The Lakers acquired Pau Gasol in the middle of the 2007-2008 season, and Gasol made an immediate impact. The Lakers were a struggle team and found it hard to even make it to the playoffs, but in Gasol’s first season, the Lakers made it to the Finals. The Celtics may have beaten the Lakers in the 2008 Finals, but Gasol proved to the world that he is one of the best big men in the league.
In the two and half years with the Lakers, Pau has helped the Lakers win two titles in three Finals appearances. In the purple and gold, Gasol averages 18.6 ppg and 9.5 rpg. Even though Pau has only been here for a few years, he transformed the Lakers the minute he stepped on the court.
The Lakers were still trying to rebuild after the Shaq era ended, and Gasol turned out to be the savior. No player in recent history has made a bigger impact that Pau Gasol. If it weren’t for Pau, the Lakers may be fighting for the seventh or eight seed in the West.