10 Greatest Players in Los Angeles Lakers Franchise History
The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the greatest franchises in sports and in my opinion the greatest in NBA history (sorry Celtics fans). The Lakers have won 16 NBA Championships and have made 31 NBA Finals appearances, 10 more than any other team and the players on this list have had a big role to play in that.
For the purposes of this list, I'll only be considering what the player did as a Laker and not their overall career. So for that reason, the likes of Karl Malone and Steve Nash obviously won't make the list. It's a pretty tough task to rank the greatest players in Lakers history considering the illustrious names who have donned the purple and gold, but I'll give it a try. Here's my top 10:
#10 Gail Goodrich
A silky smooth scorer, Gail Goodrich was one of the key components of the Laker teams of the 70s. Able to score from all over the court, Goodrich was also a more than capable passer who meshed incredibly well with Jerry West in the backcourt.
Things weren't always that way, however. Drafted in 1965, Goodrich would play a reserve role for the 1st three years of his career after which the Suns picked him up in the expansion draft. Now a starter, Gail came into his own and was voted an all-star in 1969. His play led to the Lakers trading Mel Counts to bring Goodrich back to the team.
With West now running the point, Goodrich slotted in at SG and their partnership bloomed. In 1971/72, the Lakers soared, mounting a then-record 69 wins. While a lot of talk around that season is about West and Wilt Chamberlain, Goodrich actually led the team in scoring at 25.9 a game.
He continued his strong play into the postseason and averaged an NBA Finals leading 25.6 Points per game as the Lakers beat the Knicks 4-1 to win their 1st title in Los Angeles. He continued to average over 20 points a game over the coming years, but with the talent on the roster declining, they were unable to reach those lofty heights again.
Goodrich currently ranks 8th in both points and assists in franchise history and his role in bringing the 1st championship to LA cannot be understated.