THE WORST* LAKERS OF ALL TIME
*Disclaimer: These probably aren't the worst Lakers of all time, but they are definitely my least favorite.
LA sports fans are stereotyped as fickle bandwagoners that are not as knowledgeable as fans from the east coast or midwest. This may be somewhat true, and a lot of that has to do with the laid back mentality many Californians, specifically Angelenos, possess.
However, when it comes to the Lakers, LA doesn't fuck around. Ask my mom, who tore her ACL while celebrating a last-minute playoff win in the late '80s. For some reason, be it the championships or superstars like Kobe and Magic, the "LA fan" stereotype doesn't play as true toward the Purple and Gold.
While my mom and grandmother played a part in me becoming a Laker fan, chances are I would have become one anyways, growing up in the Kobe-Shaq era. The greatest 1-2 punch in NBA history had kids from Santa Barbara to San Bernardino claiming they were from LA. Watching those teams provided some of the best memories of my childhood.
However, being a loyal fan means you stick with them through the Chris Mihms and Robert Sacres. While there have been some great players to don a Laker jersey, there have definitely been a fair share of scrubs. This article is dedicated to those scrubs who have caused me great emotional pain.
By the numbers: 1 Season - 76 GP 17.1 PPG 12.4 RPG 1.4 AST 2.4 BPG
Notable Laker Highs: Points - 39 vs. ORL 3/12/13 Rebounds - 26 vs. DEN 1/6/13
First off, fuck Dwight Howard. He's easily the best player out of everyone on this list, but he is also probably my most hated. His numbers weren't bad by any means--he led the league in rebounding and averaged over two blocks per game--but his points per game was the lowest number since his second year in the league, and his goddamn free throws were a joke.
Sure he was battling through a shoulder injury all year, but his much publicized feud with Kobe and dislike of Mike D'Antoni played a large part in the Lakers' abysmal 17-25 start through the first 42 games of the season. While he had a monster month of March in which he averaged nearly 18 points and 15 rebounds while being a major factor in the Lakers' post-All Star break turnaround, Laker fans were still disappointed in D12's play.
He was billed as the next great big man in LA, following the footsteps of guys named Shaq, Kareem, and Wilt. Dwight was hardly that. He was soft, didn't like Kobe's competitive edge, and was absolutely infuriating to watch. He was so easy to hate. He went from being a beloved, fun-loving, franchise center piece in Orlando to a guy burdened with bringing championships to a city that demands nothing less. He couldn't handle the pressure, evident by his quick departure, and that's what lands him on this list.
By the numbers: 3 seasons - 166 GP 7.1 PPG 3.1 RPG 1.4 APG 40% 3PFG
Notable Laker Highs: Points - 27 12/17/06 vs. WAS Rebounds - 14 4/6/08 vs. SAC
The game that ruined my first trip to Staples Center
Vlad and I go way back. In the 5th grade, my dad got me tickets to my first Lakers game for Christmas. Our seats were incredible, and I was ecstatic, yet this 6-foot-10 Bosnian who I had never previously heard of found a way to ruin my experience.
Radmanovic wasn't even on the Lakers at the time, he was a member of the Seattle SuperSonics (RIP) and proceeded to drop 26 off the bench on a night where Kobe (let's be real he was the only reason to watch the Lakers at the time) didn't even play.
The Lakers lost 104-93, but instead of focusing on the lackluster play from LA on the ride home, I could only think of one thing--"who is Vladimir Radmanovic??"
Naturally when he came to the Lakers two seasons later, I was excited because every single time I've watched him play he shot 8-14 from the 3-point line (I hadn't seen him play since). I guess you could say my disappointment in Vlad was due to my ignorance, but he is still a bum in my book. His blatant disregard of any swagger whatsoever (exhibit A, exhibit B) didn't help his case either.
By the numbers: 1 season - 71 GP 11.8 PPG 6.8 RPG 1.3 APG
Notable Laker Highs: Points - 28 2/4/15 vs. MIL Rebounds - 14 1/9/15 vs. ORL
Boozer was a part of the largely unwatchable 2014-2015 Laker squad that finished with the worst record in Laker history since they moved to LA (until the following season). It was the first year of the Byron Scott era, which contained copious amounts of profanity-laced rants from yours truly.
Most of those rants were directed at this man, Carlos Austin Boozer, a 2nd-round-pick-turned-all-star in the twilight of his career. I never really liked Boozer before he came to LA. Whether it was his disgusting fake hairline or the hilarious fist bump into a ref's nuts in the video above, dude just seemed like a complete spaz.
While I had some idea of what to expect from 'los when he joined the Lakeshow, I had no idea how much I hated this guy until I got to watch him play three times a week. The mass amounts of turnovers, bad shots, and horribly obnoxious "holdat" calls made Boozer extremely unlikeable.
Metta World Peace
By the numbers (as MWP): 4 seasons - 184 GP 8.7 PPG 1.6 RPG 1.5 APG
Notable Laker Highs (as MWP): Points - 26 4/11/12 vs. SAS Rebounds - 16 12/16/12 vs. PHI Steals - 7 1/9/13 vs. SAS
My favorite Metta moment of all time. Fuck James Harden.
Just to make things clear, this is strictly MWP and not Ron Artest, who was a vital part of the Lakers' 2009-10 championship team. I never really had a problem with pre-Metta Ron, but I was sad to see the Lakers sign him over Trevor Ariza. Although Ariza's tenure in the Purple and Gold was rather short, he remains to this day one of my favorite Lakers.
Enough about Ron, let's get into Metta. While he did bring a sense of defensive toughness to the team, it meant little to the D'Antoni teams that put little emphasis on the defensive side of the floor. Offensively, he was as inept as the Lakers' defense. I've probably seen more airballed threes from Metta than anyone else (save for maybe Wesley Johnson).
Following the 2012-2013 season MWP and LA parted ways and by 2014 he was out of the league, playing overseas in China and Italy. He was making (not funny) appearances on Key and Peele. I thought I had saw the last of World Peace in a Laker uniform and I wasn't too upset at it. Then 2015 happened. For some reason, Mitch Kupchak thought it'd be a good idea to bring back Metta, and KEEP HIM AGAIN IN 2016 OVER ANTHONY BROWN. Don't get me wrong Anthony Brown isn't a superstar, but I thought he had some upside and played good defense, with certainly more value to the team than ol' Metta. But what do I know. MWP has been tearing up the league so far this season, averaging 1.6 PPG and 0.7 RPG in just 10 games played.
By the numbers: 3 seasons - 136 GP 7.4 PPG 6.2 RPG 1.3 APG
Notable Laker Highs: Points - 21 3/22/06 vs. SAC Rebounds - 15 (twice) 4/11/06 vs. GSW and 12/29/06 vs. CHA Blocks - 5 12/29/06 vs. SAS
Start around 4:20 to see the greatness that is Kwame Brown.
I almost had to include Kwame on this list by default. Kwame always got more criticism than deserved. He probably didn't deserve to be a No. 1 pick, and was part of a draft in 2001 that wasn't very strong. However, that doesn't mean that he isn't a piece of shit bum who can't catch an entry pass to save his life.
Seriously, this guy dropped more passes than Clifford Franklin from The Replacements. There were rumors that his hands were exceptionally small for his size, but I couldn't find any hard evidence proving this statement (although I do believe it). Everything from his work ethic to passion for basketball were questioned, and his offensive game was non-existent. There is literally nothing good I can say about Kwame, and you probably couldn't find anyone on the internet that could say anything good about him either.
While I feel bad for him and all the shit that he's taken throughout the length of his career, I couldn't leave him off this list no matter how hard I tried (not that hard).
Once again, these are far from the actual worst Lakers to ever play, but they were easily the hardest to watch. While a part of me wishes I had never watched these guys play, I wouldn't change anything. Watching guys like this play make you appreciate guys like Ariza, Lamar Odom, and Kareem Rush all the better.