This Lakers squad was the start of great things to come. Led by Shaq, the team featured several all-stars and good depth that allowed them to finish with a 61-21 record. They rolled through the playoffs easily, until meeting the Utah Jazz in the western conference finals. The Jazz would sweep them 4-0, before losing to the Chicago Bulls in the NBA Finals. The conference was very competitive during this time, featuring historically great teams like the Jazz and the Spurs.
Nick Van Exel, PG (OVR 83)
Traits: Athletic Playmaker
Best Stats: Ball Handling, Acceleration, Stamina
Van Exel held the point guard role during the early years of Kobe’s career, until Derek Fisher was ready to run the offense. Nick was an athletic playmaker and averaged 13.8 points, 6.9 assists and 1 steal per game.
Eddie Jones, SG (OVR 82)
Traits: Two-Way Guard
Best Stats: Stamina, 3PT, Steals
Eddie Jones was the reason Kobe Bryant was pushed to a bench role as he developed at the NBA level. Jones started and logged heavy minutes at the shooting guard position, while averaging 16.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2 steals per game.
Kobe Bryant, SG (OVR 82)
Traits: Athletic Finisher
Best Stats: Vertical, Layups, Speed
This season was Kobe’s second year in the league. In fact, he was still coming off the bench and only started 1 game all season. Regardless, he still averaged 15.4 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 26 minutes per game.
Rick Fox, SF (OVR 79)
Traits: Lockdown Defender
Best Stats: Lateral Quickness, Stamina, Vertical
Fox was a good fit for this team, as a strong perimeter defender on a team featuring mostly offensive threats. With averages of 12 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.2 steals per game, Fox filled an important role.
Shaquille O’Neal, C (OVR 93)
Traits: Two-Way Star
Best Stats: Strength, Rebounding, Dunks
At just about every stage of his career, Shaq was a physical monster on the court. There were not many players that could compete with his size, especially when he still had the star athleticism in his prime years. With averages of 28.3 points, 11.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game, Shaq led this squad in the early years of Kobe’s career.
NBA 2K19 1997-1998 Los Angeles Lakers Roster
|Nick Van Exel||83||PG||6’1”||26|