3 Best Los Angeles Lakers Draft Picks

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Los Angeles Lakers coach Pat Riley, Magic Johnson, and Lakers General Manager Jerry West during the Whitney M. Young Jr. ceremony.
(Wikimedia Commons/Lacy Atkins, Los Angeles Times)
Anatoly Pimentel @AnatolyPimentel Sep 20, 2023, 5:49 PM
  • Here’s a list of the best Los Angeles Lakers’ picks in franchise history.
  • Magic Johnson leads the list of players Los Angeles selected through the draft.
  • Other notable Lakers players include Jerry West and James Worthy.

The Los Angeles Lakers are tied with its rivals, the Boston Celtics, as the winningest NBA franchise in history with 17 championships apiece, as they won their latest title in 2020 inside the NBA bubble in Orlando. Because of these championships, the franchise has been one of the most decorated teams in the league. A significant part of their success is from the selection of young talent in the draft, which boosted their NBA championship odds.

They were able to pick notable players like Elgin Baylor, A.C. Green, Derek Fisher, Sam Jones, Michael Cooper, and Vern Mikkelsen. However, three players stood out among the rest and have contributed the most to the success of the Purple and Gold franchise. Find out those three players below.

Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson is easily one of the greatest players in the history of the Los Angeles Lakers franchise, and he was selected as the first-overall pick in 1979. Johnson revolutionized the game of basketball by becoming the first big man to have point guard skills, which significantly helped the Lakers win multiple championships. The 6-foot-9 guard didn’t capture the Rookie of the Year award but was included in the All-Rookie 1st Team in 1980.

Johnson was also known for leading the team to the 1980 NBA title as a rookie after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar went down in the NBA Finals against the Philadelphia 76ers. He showcased his all-around style in the series and secured the NBA Finals MVP. Johnson added four more titles to the Lakers’ total, won three regular season MVPs, and became a 12-time All-Star in his 13-year career in the NBA. He racked up an average of 19.5 points, 11.2 assists, and 7.2 rebounds.

Jerry West

Another Laker great who was drafted by the team was Jerry West. He was selected as the second overall pick in 1960. West was one of the first super-scoring point guards in the NBA and produced a double-double average throughout his entire career. West averaged 17.6 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 4.2 assists in his rookie year, where he played 35.4 minutes per game. Unfortunately, he played in the era when the Boston Celtics were the most dominant team.

Despite Boston dominating the 1960s, West and the Lakers were still able to win a title in 1972. “The Logo” was also the first player in NBA history to become the NBA Finals MVP on a losing team in 1969. The former West Virginia standout also represented the Lakers in 14 NBA All-Star Games and was a 10-time member of the All-NBA 1st Team. West played all his 14 seasons with the Purple and Gold and accumulated career numbers of 27.0 points, 6.7 assists, and 5.8 rebounds in 932 games.

James Worthy

Rounding out the three best Los Angeles Lakers draft picks is James Worthy, who was drafted as the first-overall pick in 1982. If Johnson revolutionized the point guard position, Worthy was one of the first players in league history to become a two-way wing player that played effectively on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor. Along with Johnson and Abdul-Jabbar, the 6-foot-9 forward formed a formidable trio for the Lakers.

Because of his solid contributions to the team, they won three NBA titles in 1985, 1987, and 1988. He won the Finals MVP award in 1988 and was selected to seven All-Star Games. Like Johnson and West, “Big Game James” finished his 12-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, where he amassed an average of 17.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 3.0 assists in 926 games. He was enshrined into the Hall of Fame in 2003.

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About the Author

Anatoly Pimentel

Read More @AnatolyPimentel

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.