Best Los Angeles Lakers teams all-time: 6. 2008-09
Starters: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Trevor Ariza, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Bench: Lamar Odom, Luke Walton, Vladimir Radmanović, Sasha Vujačić, Jordan Farmar, Josh Powell, D.J. Mbenga, Shannon Brown, Chris Mihm, Adam Morrison, Sun Yue
After losing the 2008 finals to their bitter rivals the Boston Celtics, the Los Angeles Lakers and more specifically Kobe Bryant were more motivated than ever to reach the finals the following season. Then the core of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, and Andrew Bynum would go on to win the next two championships following that loss.
2008-09 was Kobe at his peak and his running mates Odom and Gasol were playing the best basketball of their respective careers as well. It made for beautiful basketball and one of the most complete championship teams of Bryant’s illustrious Lakers career.
Other notable contributors from this team include a young Trevor Ariza and Derek Fisher who was on every single Kobe championship team. Fisher of course hit huge shots down the stretch in the 2009 NBA finals against the Orlando Magic to help them win a couple of games in that series.
Along with winning the title in 2009, the Lakers also won 65 games in the regular season, only four short of the franchise record of 69.
Kobe and Pau might not have been the dominant overpowering scoring duo that Shaq and Kobe were, but their chemistry is what made this team so good. Pau had the ability to facilitate in the triangle offense like no other big man could, and their friendship developed so well that they even spoke Spanish on the court at times to confuse opponents.
Winning this championship made a statement that Kobe could be the number one player on a championship team, and gave them the entire team the championship experience to eventually avenge their loss against the Celtics and win back-to-back championships.