Lakers’ Forgotten Studs: Cedric Ceballos, Scoring Machine – Fan’s Reflection

In Just Over Two Seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, Cedric Ceballos Emerged as an All-Star Scoring Machine

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As a Los Angeles Lakers fan I am all for honoring legends like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jamaal Wilkes, and Shaquille O'Neal.

But there have been a number of great Lakers over the years who will never have their numbers retired but they deserve recognition - call them the Lakers' Forgotten Studs.

Today's installment: Cedric Ceballos

Cebric Ceballos - Scoring Machine

In 1994 the Lakers missed the playoffs for the first time 17 years. With the Showtime era now in the past, Los Angeles needed an offensive spark.

The spark came in the form of Cedric Ceballos, an athletic 6'6" slasher whom the Lakers acquired from the Phoenix Suns in exchange for a first round draft pick (later becoming Michael Finley.)

In his first season in Los Angeles in 1995, Ceballos had a career year with 21.7 points and 8.0 rebounds on 51% FG's. His stellar play resulted in his first and only All-Star selection.

In 1996 he continued his solid play for the Lakers - 21.2 points and 6.9 rebounds on 53% FG's.

Between 1995 and 1996 Cedric Ceballos' 21.4 PPG was 11th highest in the NBA (min. 100 games), surpassing future Hall-of-Famers like Scottie Pippen, Reggie Miller, and Clyde Drexler.

Additionally, his 52.1% FG was spectacular. Among players who scored at least 20 PPG in 1995 and 1996, the only players to shoot better from the floor than Cedric Ceballos were Hall-of-Fame post players: Shaquille O'Neal (57.9%), Karl Malone (52.8%), and David Robinson (52.3%).

Ceballos was traded after 8 games in 1997 back to the Phoenix Suns in the deal that brought Robert Horry to the Lakers, but his two full seasons in L.A. were electric.

Returning to the Playoffs

The 1994 season was a depressing one for Lakers fans like me.

The Lakers' 1994 regular season record of 33-49 (.402) was the team's worst since 1975 as Los Angeles missed the playoffs for the first time in years.

But the addition of Cedric Ceballos in 1995 pushed the Lakers to a 48-34 (.585) record as the team advanced to the Western Conference Semifinals.

In 1996 the Lakers had an excellent regular season going 53-29 (.646) behind Ceballos' scoring, but they lost in the first round of the playoffs.

The explosive play of Cedric Ceballos was one of the biggest reasons the Lakers were able to regain some of their mojo in the years after Showtime but before Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant began to dominate.

Ceballos Not to be Forgotten

While his time was short in Los Angeles, Cedric Ceballos was an All-Star stud when he wore the purple and gold.

He was one of the league's best scorers and brought pride back to Los Angeles in the years between Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant.

Though Cedric Ceballos' time with the Lakers was brief, his impact was meaningful and should not be forgotten.

Andrew Sweat is a die-hard Lakers fan. For more from this author, visit Andrew's archive or check these out articles:

Lakers Forgotten Studs: Nick Van Exel and His Killer Swagger

Lakers' Forgotten Studs: Sedale Threatt Owned the NBA From 1992-1994

Lakers' Forgotten Studs: Elden Campbell and the Lefty Dunk

Kobe Bryant's Top-5 Most Ridiculous Box Scores

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