NOT SUCH A STRETCH
He's had many critics, and, yes, it did take a while for him to fit in with the Lakers, but 11-year veteran forward Ron Artest ultimately proved to be a valuable starter in his first season in L.A. The defensive stalwart, here battling Carmelo Anthony (15), trailed only Kobe Bryant in steals (106).
THE OLD GUARD
In his third season back as a full-time starter with the Lakers, 35-year-old Derek Fisher proved he could still stand his ground against All-Stars such as Steve Nash (13). Fisher sank his 1,000th career three-pointer in February and led L.A. in free throw percentage (.856) for the season.
TIME IS ON HIS SIDE
Injuries have kept 7-foot Andrew Bynum from playing an 82-game schedule in each of the last three seasons, but in 2009-10 the 22-year-old center logged the most minutes of his career, averaging more than 30 over 65 games. He finished with a career high in points per game (15.0).
MR. CLUTCH 2.0
Kobe Bryant channeled the great Lakers shotmaker Jerry West by hitting six game-winners, including this one over Miami's Dwyane Wade last December. Bryant was fourth in the NBA in scoring average (27.0) and became the youngest player to reach 25,000 points.
WALKING THE TALK
Sure, he was caught up in some trash-talking this season (see Twitter episode with Orlando's Matt Barnes), but forward Lamar Odom was once again a key role player, starting 38 games and averaging nearly a double double (9.8 rebounds and 10.8 points).