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Lakers Season Countdown: 20 days, Gary Payton

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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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Harry How/Getty Images

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 20 days until the regular season begins, with "The Glove", as he represents the most-worn jersey in Lakers history.

Who wore it the best: Gary Payton

(Credit: National Basketball Association, Getty Images)

Trust me when I say that it personally hurt me when I couldn't select Brian Shaw here. Shaw was a key member of the Lakers teams that won back-to-back-to-back titles from 2000-02. Shaw, along with Robert Horry and Derek Fisher, was one of the most clutch 3 point shooters the Lakers had on their roster. However, Gary Payton's numbers in his lone season with the Lakers were just too impressive.

Gary Payton is simply known as "The Glove", for his excellent defensive abilities. Many consider him the greatest defensive point guard to ever play the game. He is mostly known for his 13 year career as a member of the Seattle SuperSonics, but he has also played for the Bucks, Lakers, Celtics & Heat. He won is lone NBA Championship as a member of the Heat. He still holds SuperSonics franchise records for points, assists and steals. Payton was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013.

Payton was an unrestricted free agent prior to the 2003-04 season, and with persuasion from Shaquille O'Neal, Payton, along with Karl Malone, signed with the Lakers. Payton struggled in Phil Jackson's triangle offense, but still started in all 82 games. The Lakers advanced to the NBA Finals, but eventually lost to the Pistons in 5 games. Before the 2004-05 season, the Lakers traded Payton and Rick Fox to the Celtics for Chris Mihm, Jumaine Jones and Chucky Atkins.

Seasons w/ Lakers

Years

ppg

rpg

apg

spg

bpg

mpg

Gary Payton

1

2004

14.6

4.2

5.5

1.2

0.2

34.5

Who wore it last: Dwight Byucks

Dwight Byucks played in the Chinese Basketball Association for their 2014-15 season. Following their season, he was acquired by the Oklahoma City Blue of the NBA D-League. Due to several injuries and the Lakers needing point guard help, the Lakers signed Byucks to a 10-day contract. The Lakers had used the NBA Hardship Exemption in order to sign Byucks as they already had the maximum 15 players on the roster.

After breaking his right hand, the Lakers let Byucks go for the remainder of the 2014-15 season. He played with the Lakers during the 2015 Summer League, but was not invited to training camp. He reportedly turned down several non-guaranteed contracts in the NBA to return to play in China for the 2015-16 season.

#20 - Who has worn it:

Whitey Kachan (1949)

Bud Grant (1950-1951)

Normie Glick (1950)

Whitey Skoog (1952-1957)

Tom Hawkins (1960-1962)

Don Nelson (1964-1965)

Dick Garrett (1970)

Earnie Killum (1971)

Nate Hawthorne (1974)

Brian Winters (1975)

Donnie Freeman (1976)

Cornell Warner (1977)

Allen Murphy (1977)

Maurice Lucas (1986)

Milt Wagner (1988)

Terry Teagle (1991-1992)

Rumeal Robinson (1997)

Jon Barry (1998)

Brian Shaw (2000-2003)

Gary Payton (2004)

Jumaine Jones (2005)

Jodie Meeks (2013-2014)

Dwight Buycks (2015)