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Lakers Season Countdown: 9 days, Nick Van Exel

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In this series, we will count down the days until the Lakers first regular season game on October 28th. Each day we will discuss who wore that number best, and who wears it now or who wore it last.

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Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

We're getting ready for a brand new season of Los Angeles Lakers basketball, so to count down the days we'll be looking at the best Lakers to wear the number. We'll continue at 9 days until the regular season begins, with "Nick the Quick".

Who wore it the best: Nick Van Exel

(Credit: Vince Compagnone, Getty Images)

Nick Van Exel was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round of the 1993 NBA draft with the 37th overall selection. Van Exel immediately became the Lakers starting point guard. Himself, along with Eddie Jones were the Lakers two dynamic building pieces of the future. Nick's flashy play helped the Lakers get back into the playoffs after they failed to reach the postseason in his rookie campaign.

Van Exel made his only All-Star team during the 1997-98 season. He was named to the All-Star team along with teammates Kobe Bryant, Eddie Jones & Shaquille O'Neal. However, the 1997-98 season would be Van Exel's last with the Lakers. Van Exel was traded in the offseason to the Denver Nuggets for Tony Battie and the draft rights to Tyronn Lue.

The next four years in Denver for Van Exel would be the best of his career as he averaged close to 18 points & 9 assists as their starting point guard. Van Exel would play in the NBA for 13 years and we go onto to play for the Mavericks, Warriors, Trail Blazers & Spurs, after his stints in Los Angeles and Denver. Van Exel is currently the head coach of the Texas Legends of the NBA D-league.

Seasons w/ Lakers

Years

ppg

rpg

apg

spg

bpg

mpg

Nick Van Exel

5

1994-98

14.9

2.8

7.3

1.0

0.1

34.8

Who wore it last: Ronnie Price

Following the 2005 NBA draft in which Ronnie Price went undrafted after a stellar two years at Utah Valley State College, Price signed a 2-year guaranteed deal with the Sacramento Kings. Playing sporadically with the Kings, Price signed as a free agent with the Utah Jazz to serve as the primary backup point guard to Deron Williams. Ronnie became a fan favorite because he was a local college kid.

After 4 years in Utah, Price also played for the Suns, Trail Blazers, Magic & for the Lakers during the 2014-15 season. Price appeared in 43 games, with 20 starts, and averaged 5.1 points, 1.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists & 1.6 steals in 22.8 minutes per game. These averages were Ronnie's career highs in points, rebounds and assists. Price missed the end of the season due to elbow surgery. Price is currently under contract with the Phoenix Suns for the 2015-16 season.

#9 - Who has worn it:

Jim Chones (1980-1981)

Nick Van Exel (1994-1998)

Bryon Russell (2004)

Chucky Atkins (2005)

Laron Profit (2006)

Sun Yue (2009)

Matt Barnes (2011-2012)

Chris Kaman (2014)

Ronnie Price (2015)

Marcelo Huertas (2016 - future)