It can be argued that 13-time All-Star Kobe Bryant with a career 25.3 PPG average, an NBA regular-season MVP award, five NBA titles and two NBA Finals MVP awards, is the greatest Los Angeles Laker of all time.
However, Bryant would not be in that discussion if it was not for the teammates he has played with over his 15-year career.
Bryant has played with a variety of teammates; he has played with transcendent players such as Shaquille O’Neal and great role players like Derek Fisher.
In this article, I will rank Bryant’s 10 greatest teammates based mostly on on their contributions to the Lakers, considering their role on the team.
Eddie Jones played with Bryant for only three seasons before he was traded to the Charlotte Hornets.
Nonetheless, during his time with Bryant and the Lakers, Jones consistently put up 16 points a night and allowed Bryant to thrive as a sixth man.
Caron Butler played only one season for the Los Angeles Lakers before being traded to the Washington Wizards for Kwame Brown (yes, Kwame Brown).
However, during the 2004-05 NBA season, Butler was the Lakers’ second option, and he showed the NBA world how great he could be as he put 16 PPG and 6 RPG.
The Lakers, however, finished with an abysmal 34-48 record.
Andrew Bynum is infamous for being unhealthy but, when he has been healthy, he has been one of Bryant’s best teammates.
While on the court, Bynum has been a force inside, averaging 10.5 PPG and 7.1 RPG. He has also contributed, although minimally, to the Lakers’ two recent NBA championships.
Many have criticized Metta World Peace’s performance for the Los Angeles Lakers since he joined the team in 2009; much of that criticism has been deserved.
However, he has averaged 11 PPG and 1.7 SPG the past two seasons.
And, we can’t forget his miraculous shot against the Phoenix Suns in the 2010 Western Conference finals and incredibly clutch three-point shot in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals.
Without these clutch displays, Bryant and the Lakers would certainly be one championship short.
Like Robert Horry, Rick Fox was a vital role player for the Los Angeles Lakers in the early 2000s.
Alongside Kobe Bryant, Fox played great defense and provided some scoring as he helped the Lakers win three NBA titles.
Robert Horry was nothing but a role player when he played with Kobe Bryant in the early 2000s. However, his clutch performances in the playoffs were vital to the team’s success and 3 NBA titles in 2000, 2001, and 2002.
Lamar Odom has played with Bryant through the worst and best of times.
Odom began his career with the Lakers in the 2004-05 NBA season and became Bryant’s second option on a variety of bad Lakers teams.
Odom displayed his greatness as a passer, rebounder and scorer, and he continued to do so when the Lakers started winning again from the 2008-09 season to now.
With the Lakers, Odom has averaged 13.8 PPG, 9.5 RPG and 3.8 APG, and he has been a vital part of the recent Lakers championship teams.
Derek Fisher certainly isn’t as talented as some of the players below him—he has averaged only 8 PPG and 3 APG in his career with the Lakers—but the fact that he has had his share of clutch moments and has played with Kobe Bryant in every one of Bryant’s championship seasons validates his place on the list.
In May 2007, Bryant was clearly frustrated. Fed up with the Lakers’ continuous losing and the lack of supporting cast, Bryant demanded to be traded.
In February 2008, Bryant’s desire to play with a reliable All-Star came true when the Lakers acquired Pau Gasol.
Since he was acquired, Gasol’s has validated himself as one of the best power forwards in the NBA.
Using an array of skillful post moves, Gasol has averaged 18.7 PPG, as well as an impressive 9.7 RPG, in addition to earning three All-Star game appearances.
Most importantly, however, Gasol has helped Bryant and the Lakers reach three NBA Finals and win two NBA titles.
Although Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant had one of the most heated teammate feuds in NBA history, there is no doubt that O’Neal is the greatest player that Bryant has ever played with based on his contributions to the Lakers.
O’Neal played with Bryant from 1996 to 2004. During this time, O’Neal dominated opposing defenses as he averaged 26.9 PPG. He was also a force inside as he averaged double-digit rebounds every season.
O’Neal’s play earned him seven All-Star appearances, and he helped guide the Lakers to three NBA titles.