8. Andrew Bynum
The Los Angeles Lakers were not very successful during the middle years of the 2000s. Kobe Bryant was in the prime of his career, but the rest of the team was not performing at the same level. The Lakers had won three consecutives titles earlier in the decade, but they failed to make the playoffs in 2005.
In the 2005 NBA Draft the Lakers had the 13th pick, and they decided to select a seven-foot high school player. Andrew Bynum, from St. Joseph High School (NJ), provided the Lakers with size and length at the center position. However, it took Bynum a few years to get situated with the Lakers and the NBA style of play. Kobe Bryant had been caught on tape criticizing the big man, and it seemed as though Bynum might have been traded.
Nevertheless, Bynum developed his skills and he has helped the Lakers win two straight titles. Bynum’s length and defensive presence is something the Lakers cannot replace, and he has been playing great along side Pau Gasol.
Andrew Bynum is currently in his sixth NBA season, and he has averaged 15.7 ppg and 10.3 rpg.