10. Eddie Jones 10th overall, 1994 draft
9. Nick Van Exel 37th overall, 1993 draft
I pair these two together because they were your 1990s Lakers, essentially. Magic Johnson retired early in the 1991-92 season, leading to the draft picks of Van Exel and Jones in successive years. And save for Magic’s ill-fated unretirement in the 1995-96 season, these two were the stars of the show.
The two energetic, young guards nearly 31 points and over 10 assists a game in Jones’ first season. And when Shaq joined the team in 1996-97, Jones and Van Exel upped their numbers to 32.5 points, 11.9 assists, and 7.0 rebounds a game. Jones was used as a tutor for Kobe Bryant early on in Bryant’s career as both had ties to the Philadelphia area and Jones and Bryant played the same position.
However, Jones was soon shipped out as Bryant began to flourish in the spring of 1999. Van Exel had been traded the summer before to clear room for the young Derek Fisher. But it didn’t diminish the fact that these two were the heart and soul of the Lakers through the bulk of the 1990s.