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Lakers Season Countdown: 31 days, Mel Counts

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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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Lisa Blumenfeld/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 31 days until the regular season begins, with a little known contributor from the past.

Who wore it the best: Mel Counts

(Credit: Sports Illustrated, Getty Images)

Mel Counts played in the NBA for 12 seasons, 6 with the LA Lakers. Mel helped the Lakers get to the Finals 3 years in a row from 1968-1970. However, the Lakers would lose in the Finals every one of those years. Mel served as the primary backup for the power forward or center position, standing at 7' tall.

Mel also played for the Boston Celtics, where he won 2 NBA titles in his first two years in the league, as well as the Phoenix Suns, New Orleans Jazz, Baltimore Bullets & Philadelphia 76ers. One of his best accomplishments as a Laker may be being involved directly involved in the trade that brought Gail Goodrich back to the Lakers in 1973.

Seasons w/ Lakers

Years

ppg

rpg

apg

spg

bpg

mpg

Mel Counts

6

1967-70 & 1973-74

9.7

6.9

1.5

0.4

0.5

19.8

Who wore it last: Chris Mihm

Chris Mihm played in the NBA 9 years, but was severely sidelined for most of that career, as he battled with severe ankle injuries for almost all of his career. Mihm spent 4 years each with the Cleveland Cavaliers & Los Angeles Lakers, while spending one with the Boston Celtics and missing an entire year due to ankle surgeries.

Mihm was selected 7th overall in the 2000 Draft by the Chicago Bulls, but was immediately traded to the Cavaliers for Jamal Crawford. In his 4 year Laker tenure, Mihm averaged 8.3 points, 5.6 rebounds & 1.1 blocks in 21.7 minutes per game. Mihm was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies for a conditional 2nd round pick in 2009, but never suited up for them, and subsequently retired from basketball.

#31 - Who has worn it:

Mel Counts (1967-1974)

John Trapp (1972-1973)

Zelmo Beaty (1975)

Spencer Haywood (1980)

Kurt Rambis (1982-1988)

Mark McNamara (1989-1990)

Sam Bowie (1994-1995)

Jamal Sampson (2004)

Chris Mihm (2005-2009)