The 2009 Western Conference Champion Los Angeles Lakers are a diverse group of veterans and youngsters. Some were drafted, some traded for. To understand how the Lakers got to where they are today, the NBA Finals, let's take a look at how they were brought together.
Derek Fisher is the elder statesman of the team, drafted in 1996 by the Lakers. He saw the rise and fall of the Lakers dynasty at the turn of the century and was present for all three championships under Phil Jackson. However, in the midst of the Shaq/Kobe drama and the breakup of those two superstars, Fisher left as a Free Agent for Golden State and was subsequently traded two year later to Utah. He once again found himself in Los Angeles wearing purple and gold in 2007, just in time to make a run at the Finals in '08, falling to the Celtics. He is a rock on the team and brings leadership to the roster.
Kobe Bryant was also drafted in 1996, by the then-Charlotte Hornets. He was traded to the Lakers two weeks later and has not left. He is arguably the greatest player on Earth right now and is the key to the Lakers success in these NBA Finals.
Lamar Odom was drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers in 1999. He played out his contract and went on to sign with the Miami Heat in 2003. The Heat traded him to Los Angeles as a part of the Shaquille O'Neal deal in 2004. He has been with the Lakers in a starting and bench role in the years since. He has been a valuable sixth man in these playoffs for the Lakers.
Pau Gasol was drafted out of Spain by the Atlanta Hawks in 2001 and traded to the Grizzlies three weeks later. He was suite successful in Memphis, becoming a premier big man in the NBA. The Lakers traded for him in 2008 and he was an integral part of their run to the Finals last year. He has been a quiet force in these playoffs as well.
Luke Walton was drafted by Los Angeles in the second round of the 2003 draft with a pick received from Toronto in a deal that sent Lindsey Hunter to the Raptors. Walton has shown promise as a bench player.
Josh Powell was signed as an undrafted Free Agent by the Dallas Mavericks in 2003 and has since bounced around the league. He was traded to Indiana in a deal for Anthony Johnson in 2006 and traded to Golden State in 2007. He was signed as a Free Agent later that year by the Clippers and again by the Lakers, also in 2007. He's been used primarily as a fourth quarter bench player during his time with the Lakers.
Sasha Vujacic was drafted by the Lakers in 2004 in the first round. He has become a three-point specialist and was a big factor in last-year's playoff run. He has been a non-factor in these playoffs.
Trevor Ariza was originally drafter by the Knicks in 2004. He was traded to the Magic in the Steve Francis deal in 2006. In 2007, he was acquired by the Lakers via a trade with Orlando. He has become a defensive force in the past year and has performed well in these playoffs, making huge late-game plays.
Didier-Ilunga (DJ) Mbenga was signed as an undrafted Free Agent in 2004 by the Mavericks. He went to Golden State as a Free Agent in 2007 and joined the Lakers as a Free Agent in 2008. He has played sparingly, mostly as a fourth quarter substitute.
Andrew Bynum was the tenth pick overall in the 2005 draft by Los Angeles. He has developed into a great center with the Lakers and has only been slowed by injuries. Though he had a great regular season, he has played poorly in these playoffs.
Jordan Farmar was drafted by the Lakers in 2006, using a draft pick received in the trade of Shaquille O'Neal. He has become an important bench player for the Lakers, giving Derek Fisher a breather and bringing an up-tempo feeling to the game when he is in.
Shannon Brown was initially drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2006. He was traded with Larry Hughes and others to Chicago in 2008. He left after the season as a Free Agent and signed with Charlotte. He was then traded to Los Angeles this year. He has made a big impact off the bench in these playoffs.
Adam Morrison was drafted third in 2006 by Charlotte. He was traded with Shannon Brown to Los Angeles this season and has played sparingly. He has not suited up during these Finals.
Sun Yue was drafted in 2007 by the Lakers in the second round. He has played seldom and not at all in these playoffs.
That is how the 2009 Los Angeles Lakers were built. Looking back, Kobe Bryant is the only player to be on the roster continuously since before 2003. This team however, has gelled well, and is ready to win a championship.