Best Los Angeles Lakers teams all-time:10. 2003-04
Starters: Gary Payton, Kobe Bryant, Rick Fox, Karl Malone, Shaquille O’Neal
Bench: Devean George, Derek Fisher, Stanislav Medvedenko, Kareem Rush, Horace Grant, Bryon Russell, Luke Walton, Brian Cook, Jamal Sampson, Jannero Pargo, Maurice Carter, Ime Udoka
The most Basketball Hall of Fame players the Lakers have ever had on a team is four, and this was one of three teams in franchise history to have four Hall of Famers on it. What made this team unique is that all of those players were in the starting lineup together at once.
This team would rank a lot higher if their two big additions in the 2003 offseason, Gary Payton and Karl Malone, were not past their prime. It would also rank higher on the list if they won the Finals, instead of coming up short against the Detroit Pistons that were more of a complete team at that time.
Somehow, they still almost won a championship despite all of the turmoil that surrounded the team that season.
From the feuds between teammates Kobe and Shaq and Kobe and Malone, to Payton struggling with his role on the team, and Bryant’s court case. Malone also struggled with injuries that regular season and that resulted in a lack of on-court chemistry needed for them to win the title.
Their biggest accomplishment is either winning the Western Conference Finals or defeating the defending champion Spurs in six games in the Western Conference Semifinals.
Ultimately, this team could not be left off this list because of the hype that surrounded them going into the year and the legendary star power that included three guys in the top ten for career scoring. They were a disappointment because they failed to meet their lofty expectations and win the big prize of a championship, but they still deserve a spot on the list.