8. Andrew Bynum 10th overall, 2005 draft
Bynum gets a slide all too himself, and I’m sure that’s exactly how he’d like it. I remember watching the 2005 draft with a bit of excitement as this was the first time (and only time in my life) that the Lakers had a lottery pick. As a childhood Duke fan, my main concern was that they not take one of the many Tar Heels in the draft that year so that I wouldn’t have to root for them.
However, I was totally befuddled when the Lakers took Bynum 10th as I had no idea who that was. Listening to the analysts call him “raw” and throwing around the word “potential” left me even angrier: the Lakers needed someone to help Kobe now!
While Bynum didn’t seriously contribute to the Lakers until a couple seasons later, his contributions resulted in back-to-back titles and some of my fondest moments as a Lakers fans. Watching him school Shaq in his rookie season at the age of 18 was joyous. Watching him blossom into a star in the 2007-08 challenge made me even happier, until the injuries. The injuries are obviously what Bynum’s career has been and likely will be defined by. The fact remains, though, that the Lakers drafting Bynum was a solid draft day decision.