7 Greatest Lakers to Never Win a Title

Joe BarnathanCorrespondent INovember 15, 2011

7 Greatest Lakers to Never Win a Title

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    Rarely are the Los Angeles Lakers not competing for the NBA Championships. For players who come to the franchise, many expect to finish their careers with a ring.

    However, sometimes players who were expecting great success found themselves without a title while playing for the purple and gold.

    While many great players go on to win a title with another team later in their careers, some retire without ever claiming the game's greatest prize.

    Here are the seven greatest players to ever play in purple and gold and not win a championship.

7. Vlade Divac

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    When people think of Vlade Divac and the Lakers they either remember that he was part of the draft day trade for Kobe Bryant, or they think of his time on the Kings battling Shaq and Kobe.

    Nevertheless, the big man spent seven seasons on the Lakers without ever claiming a title.

    Despite some strong play throughout the 90s, he could never quite get the Lakers to the championship. Unfortunately, by the time the Lakers were back to winning rings, Divac was on the rival Sacramento Kings.

6. Rudy LaRusso

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    Drafted by the Minneapolis Lakers in 1959, Rudy was a key player on the Lakers of the 60s. With the Lakers until 1967, he was a part of four Lakers teams that went to the NBA finals, only to lose to the Celtics.

    Often the third option behind the dynamic duo of Elgin Baylor and Jerry West, he was a four-time all star. Despite being quite the talented player, LaRusso is often forgotten as he was far gone by the time the Lakers claimed a title in 1972.

5. Cedric Ceballos

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    Cedric Ceballos was so good in 1994-95 for the Lakers that he actually got a vote for the MVP award.

    While that was probably a journalist from the LA Times, it still speaks to how great his season in which he also made the All Star game was.

    Ceballos may not be a household name for many Lakers’ fans but his talents and contribution to the team should not be diminished.

4. Nick Van Exel

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    People often forget just how productive Van Exel was for the Lakers of the 90s. Even though he never had the best team around him, Van Exel was always a threat on the court and was one of the games best point guards for a few years.

    Always a great scorer, he also had the ability to distribute the ball. Making the All-Star game in 1997-98, he had, perhaps, his best years after being traded to the Nuggets.

    Though he played in the league for 13 productive seasons, he never made it to the promise land.

3. Eddie Jones

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    When Kobe Bryant came into the league, he played off the bench for his first two seasons. Eddie Jones was the reason.

    As a three-time All-Defensive player, three-time All-Star, and one time All-NBA player, Eddie Jones is perhaps the most underrated Laker to ever play for the team.

    He was absolutely fantastic for them for in the late 90s. Had he and Bryant not played the same position, there is little doubt the Lakers would have kept him. However, due to the logjam at shooting guard, the team dealt him for Glen Rice and the rest is history.

    Sadly for Jones, he never was able to get back on a team capable of making a successful playoff run and ended his career without ever winning a title.

2. Connie Hawkins

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    While not often associated with the Lakers, or for the NBA for that matter, Hawkins did play for the purple and gold in ’74 and ’75.

    And although he did claim a title in the ABA, he never won it all in the NBA. He was an incredible athlete in his day, and perhaps if he hadn’t spent his best years in the ABA, he  wouldn’t have needed to make this list.

1. Karl Malone

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    Obviously, one of the greatest players to never win a championship for any team, Karl Malone tops this list. There isn’t much debate when it comes to greatest Lakers’ player who never won a title.

    As arguably one of the greatest power forwards of all time, he was part of the 2003-04 Lakers team that was upset in the finals by the Detroit Pistons.

    While he may be remembered mostly for his contributions as a member of the Utah Jazz, many Lakers fans will often think of Malone and his one season as a Laker.

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