Written by DJ Byrnes
With the 26th pick in the 2006 NBA Draft (A pick acquired by the Lakers in the Shaquille O’Neal trade), the Lakers selected Point Guard Jordan Farmar out of UCLA.
Farmar was fresh off an 18 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals performance in a National Title loss to the Florida Gators. Despite the loss, Farmar’s reputation was already well known in NBA circles. He had been named to the 2005-2006 All Pac-10 Team. A year before that, he was named Pac-10 Freshman of the Year. And before that, he was the Los Angeles Times’ Player of the Year. (Dropping 56 points in a game, a record that still stands amongst Los Angeles High Schools). His stock rose even higher when he dropped a 42 inch vertical leap on scouts at the NBA Draft Combine.
Farmar was brought in to back-up the immortal Smush Parker, who would wear thin the patience of the Zen-Master by season’s end. When Phil Jackson finally benched Smush, Jordan was ready in the wings; he started the last two games of the 2006-2007 regular season, and then went on to start in the playoffs. (He averaged six points and one steal a game against the reigning MVP, Steve Nash).
With the return of Derek Fisher to the Lakers before the start of the 2007-2008 campaign, and the Lakers drafting another point guard (Javaris Crittendon – Georgia Tech) in the draft, Farmar rededicated himself to the game. The results were astounding. While backing up Derek Fisher, he posted a career year, averaging 9 points a game with 3 assists, both career highs.
Next: Were Lakers impressed?