Where does Pau Gasol rank all-time among the Lakers’ big men?
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Where does Pau Gasol rank all-time among the Lakers’ big men?

Pau Gasol announced his retirement from international and professional basketball, prompting discussions about his rank among the other all-time great big men who played for the Los Angeles Lakers

In our list, we’ve considered different factors in determining the rankings:

  1. The player should have played for at least three seasons. Anything less than that seems to be little time to make an impact on the organization.
  2. The player must have led the scoring in points or rebounds in more than one season. An all-time great means entering the record books, and a player cannot be considered among the franchise leaders if he had not led his team in scoring or rebounding at least once.
  3. During his stint with the Purple and Gold, a player must be selected as an All-Star, won an MVP, or selected in the All-NBA First Team.
  4. For the last category, the center must have won at least one NBA title with the Lakers. With that, here’s Paul Gasol’s ranking among the all-time greats at the center position for Los Angeles Lakers. 

5. Pau Gasol

Gasol retired with 17.7 points and 9.9 rebounds in seven seasons playing for the Lakers. He played from 2007-14 and was selected as an All-Star three times and won a title twice in 2009 and 2010. The Spain national team member led the team in rebounding in the 2009-10 season, averaging his career-high 11.3 rebounds per game. These feats made him eligible for our rankings. 

4. George Mikan

A lot of current Lakers fans don’t know who Mikan is, but in his prime, he played out of this world. Mikan played for the Minneapolis Lakers from 1949-54. He’s won five titles during that span and was selected to be in the All-Star game four times. Mr. Basketball was selected as All-Star MVP in 1953. Talk about impact despite playing there for a limited time! Mikan led the team in rebounds in the 1951-52 season. He averaged 22.3 points and 13.4 rebounds in five years as a Laker. 

3. Wilt Chamberlain

Wilt played in L.A. Lakers during the latter part of his career. He averaged 17.7 points and 19.2 rebounds in his five seasons in the Purple and Gold. Chamberlain was an All-Star in four out of five years. In his last season in 1972, when he was already 36 years old, he helped L.A. win the title and even received the finals MVP. He may have won only one ring but was the team’s leading rebounder for four years, which meant he delivered the expected goods for his position. 

2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Many expected Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to take the top spot, and they have every right to think so. Kareem remains on top of the all-time scoring list of the NBA. During his time with the Lakers, he won five rings while appearing in eight finals. Abdul-Jabbar also won three regular-season MVPs. Kareem averaged 22.1 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks while playing for the Purple and Gold. 

1. Shaquille O’Neal

Shaq was so dominant that he changed the way how teams drafted. The Big Diesel played eight years in Los Angeles, winning a 3-peat alongside Kobe Bryant. Some would argue that Shaq won because of Kobe, but the numbers don’t lie. Shaq was an All-Star seven times, won an MVP once, and All-Star MVP twice. As a Laker, he averaged 27 points and 11.8 rebounds. What makes it more impressive: he scored without a decent outside jumper, non-existent 3-point shooting skill, and sub-par performance at the free-throw line. Shaq is a unique blend of heft, height, and might. He’s also the greatest big man ever to wear the Lakers uniform.