LA Lakers: Ranking the Greatest Players in Team History

D'Joumbarey MoreauCorrespondent IJuly 24, 2012

LA Lakers: Ranking the Greatest Players in Team History

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    One of the most-storied franchises in professional sports—the Los Angeles Lakers—have 20 Hall of Famers and have won 17 NBA championships. With a franchise that has lived up to the standards of dominance throughout its time, the Lakers franchise has been one of the best in every decade in NBA basketball.

    With the 20 Hall of Famers that have played for the Los Angeles Lakers franchise, we are ranking the 10 greatest Los Angeles Lakers of all time to ultimately find out: Who is the greatest Laker?

10. Derek Fisher

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    Drafted as the 24th pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, Derek Fisher spent his first eight seasons in Los Angeles. Being an integral part of the "three peat" streak that the Lakers went on from 1999-2001, Fisher played a huge role in helping the Lakers win.

    Fisher was the third-leading scorer during the title run behind other Laker greats Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal. Always hitting timely shots and clutch shots during games, Fisher's will to win propelled the Lakers to win five titles during his tenure in Los Angeles. 


    Career Laker Stats
    7.9 points, 2.9 assists, 37 percent shooting from the three-point line, 1.0 steals

    Five-time NBA Champion (2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010)
    One of the deadliest clutch shooters ever

9. George Mikan

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    George Mikan possesses a profound NBA game. As one of the pioneers of the center position he began giving the Lakers franchise a name, and gave birth to the professionalism that the Lakers franchise would carry for decades.

    In 1949 when the BAA and NBL merged to form the NBA, the 1950 season included 17 teams. Mikan—who averaged 27.4 points a game—won a championship during the 1950 NBA Finals.

    Averaging 31.3 points a game in the playoffs he was dominant and gave the Lakers their first NBA title.  In the next season he finished second in rebounding with 14.1 when the rebounding statistic was officially introduced. 

    Career Laker Stats
    23.1 points, 13.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 40 percent shooting from the field

    Five-time BAA/NBA Champion (1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1953)
    Four-time NBA All-Star (1951, 1952, 1953, 1954)
    Six-time All BAA/NBA First Team (1949, 1950, 1951,1952,1953,1954)
    NBA's 50 Greatest Players 

8. James Worthy

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    James Worthy was the best sidekick that Magic Johnson could ever have had.

    Though playing as a third wheel to Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Big Game James was no slouch.

    A winner at every level, he began his career by winning a title alongside Michael Jordan at the University of North Carolina. Then, upon entering a perfect winning culture in Los Angeles, James Worthy continued his winning tradition to the Lakers franchise. 


    Career Laker Stats
    17.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.1 steals 

    Three-time NBA Champion (1985, 1987,1988)
    NBA Finals MVP (1988)
    Seven-time NBA All-Star (1986, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992)

7. Elgin Baylor

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    A scoring machine from Seattle University, Elgin Baylor was a monster.

    As the first pick in the 1958 NBA Draft, Elgin Baylor averaged over 34 points in three seasons during his tenure in the NBA.

    With the Lakers, Baylor went to the playoffs on a routine basis. During his rookie season, Baylor finished fourth in the league in scoring, third in rebounding, and eighth in assists. Scoring 55 points during his rookie year, he eventually lead the Lakers to the NBA Finals after the season before, when they were in last place.

    He would eventually lead the Lakers to the NBA Finals seven more times. In 1972, a season in which the Lakers won the championship, he retired nine games into the season and left the game as the NBA’s third-leading scorer. 


    Career Laker Stats
    27.4 points, 4.4 assists, 13.1 rebounds

    Eleven-time NBA All-Star (1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970)
    NBA All-Star Game MVP (1959)
    NBA Rookie of the Year (1959)
    Ten-time All-NBA First Team (1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969)

6. Jerry West

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    Considered the logo of the NBA, Jerry West was a scoring machine much like his teammate Elgin Baylor.

    He came to the NBA from the West Virginia Mountaineers program, and he was a collegiate star that never stopped shining at the pro level.

    A long-distance shooter Jerry West destroyed teams; and, combining his talent with the Hall-of-Famer Elgin Baylor, helped make the Lakers unstoppable during the 1960s.

    To this day as an NBA executive, West has done wonders. By trading for Kobe Bryant and signing Shaquille O' Neal he created another 1-2 punch for the Lakers.  


    Career Laker Stats
    27.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, 6.7 assist, 47 percent shooting from the field 

    NBA Champion (1972)
    NBA Finals MVP (1969)
    Fourteen-time NBA All-Star (1960-1974)
    NBA Scoring Champion (1970)

5. Wilt Chamberlain

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    There has never been such an unstoppable force as Wilt Chamberlain to grace an NBA floor.

    The man who once scored 100 points in a single professional basketball game, he won a championship with the Philadelphia 76ers.

    The Big Dipper was a competitor who was far ahead of his time. Setting the bar for what would later be known as dominance, Chamberlain came to Los Angeles during the latter part of his career in order to win a second title. He accomplished his goal.  


    Career Laker Stats
    17.7 points, 19.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 60 percent shooting from the field 

    Two-time NBA Champion (1967, 1972)
    Four-time NBA Most Valuable Player ( 1960, 1966, 1967, 1968)
    Two-time NBA All-Defensive First Team (1972, 1973)
    Thirteen-time NBA All-Star (1960-1969, 1971-1973)

4. Shaquille O'Neal

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    Shaquille O’Neal is one of the greatest centers to ever have played in NBA history.

    Putting together as dominant a stretch as anyone has had in basketball, Shaquille was a powerful force that could not be stopped inside the paint.

    After being the first-overall selection in the 1992 NBA Draft, Shaq lead the Orlando Magic to the 1995 NBA Finals. When his tenure with the Magic was over, he left to join the Los Angeles Lakers, where he won three consecutive championships in 2000, 2001 and 2002.


    Career Laker Stats
    27.0 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.5 blocks

    Four-time NBA Champion (2000, 2001, 2002, 2006)
    Three-time NBA Finals MVP (2000, 2001, 2002)
    NBA Most Valuable Player (2000) (One vote short of becoming the first unanimous MVP in NBA history)
    Two-time NBA scoring champion (1995, 2000)

3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

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    Granted, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar possibly had his best seasons on the court when he was a Milwaukee Buck. All of his five seasons in Milwaukee alone, he averaged more than 28 points a game, and won a championship without Magic Johnson.

    The inventor of the Sky Hook (which he rode to his retirement) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar finished as the all-time points scorer in NBA history, which is a mark that may never be broken.


    Career Laker Stats
    22.1 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.3 assist, 2.5 blocks


    Six-time NBA Champion (1971, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988)
    Six-time NBA Most Valuable Player
    NBA Most Valuable Player (1971, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1980) 
    Nineteen-time NBA All-Star (1970–1977, 1979–1989) 
    Two-time NBA Finals MVP (1971, 1985) 

2. Kobe Bryant

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    Kobe Bean Bryant—the Black Mamba—is one of the deadliest shooting guards to have ever laced up sneakers on the NBA court. 

    Drafted by the Charlotte Hornets as the 13th selection in the 1996 NBA (straight from high school) Bryant was traded for Vlade Divac. He was only 17 at the time of the draft. His parents had to cosign the contract because he was not 18 years of age.

    Playing his whole career with the Lakers organization, he is currently their all-time leader in points scored with 29,484 points.  He is also their leader in: games played; minutes; field goals made; field goals attempted; three-point field goal; three-points attempted; free-throws made and free-throws attempted.


    Career Laker Stats
    25.4 points 4.7 assist, 5.3 rebounds, 1.5 steals


    AccoladesFive-time NBA Champion (2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010)
    Two-time NBA Finals MVP (2009, 2010)
    Second- highest scoring game in NBA history (81 points)
    NBA Most Valuable Player (2008)

1. Magic Johnson

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    Arguably the greatest point guard in NBA history, Magic Johnson was drafted as the No. 1   selection in the 1979 NBA Draft.

    After winning a title at Michigan State, Johnson was placed in an ideal situation with the Lakers.

    There are few in NBA history who can claim to have a better initial season with a franchise than Magic Johnson had.

    In his rookie season with the Los Angeles Lakers he was selected to the NBA All-Rookie Team, NBA All-Star game and was the NBA Finals MVP.

    When Kareem Abdul-Jabbar could not play in Game 6 due to an ankle sprain, Johnson stepped up and played center. He recorded a stat line of 42 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals.


    Career Laker Stats
    19.5 points, 11.2 assists, 7.2 rebounds, 1.9 steals

    AccoladesFive-time NBA Champion (1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988)
    Three-time NBA Finals Most Valuable Player (1980, 1982, 1987)
    Three-time NBA Most Valuable Player (1987, 1989, 1990)
    NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team