On Sunday, the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Miami Heat, 106-93 in Game 6 of the 2020 NBA Finals, giving them their 17th championship in league history. That number ties the Lakers with the Boston Celtics for the most in league history. And given that Lakers legend Kobe Bryant passed away last January in a helicopter crash, there is no doubt that his championship will be dedicated in his memory.
But the Lakers aren’t the reason why you read this site. So you may be surprised that not one, not two, not even three — but four players on this season’s Lakers team wore a Wizards uniform not too long ago. Here they are below.
Dudley played one season with Washington in 2015-16 when then-head coach Randy Wittman implemented a pace-and-space system that didn’t mesh well with his otherwise sound defensive approach. Dudley averaged 7.9 points that season and also made 42 percent of his three point shots, continuing a trend of swingmen who benefited from wide open looks from Wall’s kickout passes.
This season, Dudley was an end-of-the-bench reserve, averaging 1.5 points per game in 45 regular season appearances. He played sparingly in the NBA playoffs. This is his first NBA championship.
Howard played for the Wizards in the forgettable 2018-19 season after playing in just nine games, averaging 12.8 points and 9.2 rebounds per game, decent numbers actually. However, Howard suffered back and hamstring injuries that ultimately forced him to miss the rest of the season.
That was a shame because Howard is a seven-time All-Star, five-time All-NBA First team member, and three-time Defensive Player of the Year, mostly from his Orlando Magic days from 2004-12. Since signing with the Lakers this past season for his second stint with the team, he played as a reserve, averaging 7.5 points and 7.3 rebounds in the regular season while averaging 5.8 points and 4.6 rebounds in the playoffs. His playing time went down in the postseason as Anthony Davis and LeBron James played in later playoff rounds, but rotations tighten.
This is Howard’s first championship, and it could help him get a bigger role on another team now that he’s in free agency.
McGee played for the Wizards from 2008-12 and was a holdover from the later years of the Gilbert Arenas era when Wall was drafted in 2010. His best seasons statistically were with Washington where he averaged over 10 points and 8 rebounds per game in the 2010-11 and his first 40 games of the 2011-12 season before he was traded to the Denver Nuggets.
McGee intrigued fans with his athletic dunks and leaps. But he was also known for his gaffes which would show up on Shaquille O’Neal’s “Shaqtin’ a Fool” which affected his perception around the league.
After settling into a reserve role with the Golden State Warriors (2016-18), McGee has become a respected veteran and was the Lakers’ starting center since the 2018-19 season. He averaged 6.6 points and 5.7 rebounds per game in the regular season before his numbers dipped down to 2.9 points per game in the playoffs. This is the third championship for McGee, after winning two with the Warriors in 2016-17 and 2017-18.
Morris was the Wizards’ starting power forward for much of his time in Washington from the latter half of the 2015-16 season through the first half of the 2018-19 season. His best season was in 2016-17 when he averaged 15 points and 6.5 rebounds per game when the Wizards won the Southeast Division title and advanced to the second round of the playoffs, losing to the Celtics in seven games.
Since his Wizards days, Morris has been a journey man. He was traded from Washington to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a midseason deal back in the 2018-19 season. Then he signed a deal with the Detroit Pistons this past season before agreeing to a buyout and signing with the Lakers last February, just before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Morris averaged 5.3 points a game in the regular season for the Lakers this past season (11.0 points per game with the Pistons), and averaged 5.9 points per game in the playoffs. Of the former Wizards on the Lakers, Morris had the biggest role in the Finals, where he averaged 21.5 minutes per game and also had a 19 point performance against the Heat in Game 3, even though the Lakers ultimately lost.
This is Morris’ first championship.