8 Best Centers in Lakers History



The Los Angeles (and Minneapolis) Lakers have a long history of having magnificent big men in the middle. No other franchise has had such an incredible list of successful Centers. We decided we wanted to take a look and rank the 8 best Centers in Lakers history. We take overall career into consideration, even the years they did not play for the Lakers. So here’s our list, starting with number eight. 


8. SAM PERKINS
pts 11.9 | reb 6.0 | ast 1.5
Coming in at number eight on our list is Sam Perkins who could really be put as a Center or a Power Forward on any list. Sam was one of the first big men to have an outside shooting touch. He shot (and made) threes before it was the cool thing for big men to do, paving the way for the likes of Demarcus Cousins and Joel Embiid. Sam played for the Lakers less than three years, but was a solid big man in the league nearly his entire career. He shot 36.2% from beyond the arc, which was a great number at that time even for a guard. He will be remembered most for attempting to block Michael Jordan when Jordan suddenly switched hands mid-air for a layup.


7. ANDREW BYNUM
pts 11.5 | reb 7.7 | ast 1.2
Bynum was the prized draft pick of Jimmy Buss once upon a time. He was groomed and trained by none other than Kareem himself. Andrew was an all-star his last year with the Lakers when he averaged over 18 points and nearly 12 rebounds. He won 2 NBA titles with the Kobe-led Lakers and has an All-NBA nod to boot. Grounded by injuries, he never fully realized his potential and was out of the league at age 26.


6. DWIGHT HOWARD
pts 17.4 | reb 12.6 | ast 1.5
Once dubbed as “Superman”, which is of course a nod at being the next Shaquille O’Neal, Dwight Howard is an 8 time All-Star and 8 time All-NBA selection. He was known more for his tenacious defense and sho-blocking ability, but has a career 58% field goal percentage. Dwight Howard only spent one year with the Lakers, but deserves to be on the list due to the body of work he exhibited during his entire career. Had he spent more than one year with the Lakers, he would certainly be higher on the list.


5. VLADE DIVAC
pts 11.8 | reb 8.2 | ast 3.1
Just recently inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame, Vlade Divac quietly had a good NBA career. Maybe he’s best known as the guy who was traded to the Hornets for Kobe Bryant, or his international play I’ll let you decide. Vlade was selected to one All-Star game in his career, which was at age 32 with the Sacramento Kings. He was certainly one of the best passing big men during his time in the NBA and should be remembered as such.


4. GEORGE MIKAN
pts 23.1 | reb 13.4 | ast 2.8
The lone Center on the list who didn’t play in Los Angeles. He was a 5 time NBA Champion. He had a very short NBA career, only shot 40% from the field, but was one of the first great big men in NBA history. It’s difficult to put Mikan any higher on the list despite 5 Championships because against any of the other Centers, it’s tough to think he would hold his own.


3. WILT CHAMBERLAIN
pts 30.1 | reb 22.9 | ast 4.4
There was no more dominant force in the 1960s than The Big Dipper himself. Wilt is the only player in NBA history to record a 100 point game,  the closest anyone has come is Kobe Bryant with 81 points. Despite his video game like numbers, Chamberlain only won 2 Championships during his career (one with the Lakers). The season he won a Championship with the Lakers with Jerry West, the Lakers won a record 33 games in a row (still the record) and finished the season with 69 wins, which at that time was a record only to be broken by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls.


2. SHAQUILLE O’NEAL
pts 23.7 | reb 10.9 | ast 2.5
The Big Aristotle was a fun-loving larger than life NBA Center for the ages. Dominant for 11 seasons in a big man heavy league, Shaq muscled his way to a first ballot Hall of Fame bid. He went to 15 All-Star games, won 2 scoring titles, 14 All-NBA teams, 1 league MVP award, 3 time Finals MVP and is a 4 time NBA Champion. Possibly the greatest lifetime achievement award for the Diesel was having a Burger King sandwich named after him called the “Shaq Pack”. You may disagree with Shaq being ahead of Wilt, and you may have great reason to. Shaq spent nearly half his career with the Lakers and brought 3 Championships to the City of Angels. Shaq also was a man amongst boys during a time in which the NBA had possibly the largest and best group of Centers in it’s history. 

1. KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR
pts 24.6 | reb 11.2 | ast 3.6
Some regard Cap as being the Greatest of All Time, and they have a great argument behind them. Kareem won 6 NBA Championships, 6 MVP Awards, Rookie of the Year, 19 All Star games, 2 Scoring Championships, 11 All-Defensive teams, and 2 Finals MVP Awards. He played almost his entire career with the Los Angeles Lakers and only missed the All-Star game one time in his entire career. The majority of Kareem’s points came from his patented ‘Sky Hook’ that he perfected and no one has been able to replicate it since. He rounds out our list in the number one spot due to his tenure and success with the Lakers, and overall body of work during his entire career even in Milwaukee where he won 1 of his 6 NBA Championships.

So that’s our list, let us know what you think!

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