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The Top 5 Point Guards in the History of the Lakers

Derek Fisher of Los Angeles Lakers against Raymond Felton of Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center February 2012

As the team with the most championship titles and with times of pure dominance, it is always difficult to assess the best of the best in any position. Yet, the point guard position has served up more than a fair share of greats.  Maybe, it is fair to say that the dominance of the sport at times is linked to the look they have had here. The point guard in the general that calls the play. They will dictate how the offense runs and so basketball IQ makes them a game-winner.

The years when the Lakers have shone have always been the time that they have had a great point guard. Consequently, there is no need for a list of complex criteria. We just need to know who was the point guard when the Lakers killed it on the court.

Number 5: Nick Van Exel

Jerry West managed a draft smash and grab raid when pulling Nick Van Exel out the draft at 37th overall. From 37th pick to five seasons as a solid point guard for one of the top teams. That is the power of spotting talent, my friend. Van-Exel also appeared in one All-Star game, which deserves recognition.

Nick Van Exel, when described this way, sounds like a solid player who could hold his own in this position. It doesn’t sound like the testimonial that would get you onto a top 5 list. However, fans loved this guy when he went supernova on an offensive attack. He would explode and the play would unravel before the opposition had time to wake up.

He was an athletic guy playing at the time with a relatively mediocre team. If he had stayed longer with the Lakers you sense he would have had more opportunity to shine.

Number 4: Norm Nixon

Norm Nixon of Los Angeles Clippers during NBA game at the Great Western Forum in Los Angeles January 1989

As a point guard, you are generally thought to have to be big. Nixon was not big but he was mighty. He had a physical presence on the court that made him one of the toughest players to play against.

While Van Exel may have had a little more explosive flair at times, Nixon offered consistency. He was part of two championship teams and was seen as a potent offensive weapon. He would relieve the stars on the court of some of the scoring pressure – and in 1982 led the postseason scoring.

Number 3: Derek Fisher

Derek Fisher is a player who coaches would love in their squad. He was the ultimate professional sportsman and could always be relied upon to step up. It was in some ways a surprise when he was traded by the Lakers in 2012, as he was such a loved player.  However, if you look at the stats, you can see they don’t make great reading in comparison to others.

Why has he made it to number 3? Well, imagine the scene. We are in the dying seconds of the game, Kobe Bryant has the ball and the only way to grab the win is with a three-pointer – the big shot. Out of all his options, Bryant passes the ball to Fisher and more times than not that ball was through the net. 

Fisher spent thirteen seasons with the LA Lakers and was part of five title-winning teams. 

Number 2: Gail Goodrich

This guy also made our shooting guard list – to be fair he was so uniquely talented he could be dotted almost anywhere on the court and he would perform his duties. He had an astonishing career at the Lakers and would have made number one if he had consistently played this position. However, in our opinion, his greatest games were as a point guard playing alongside Jerry West.

The accolades he won are crazy. He is a Hall of Fame inductee and his shirt was retired alone with him. He beat Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West to the leading scorer on the team in the 1972 title-winning season.

Goodrich is also LA-born and bred and spent nine seasons with the Franchise. He averaged 19 points a game and many believe he has been highly underrated through the years. 

Number 1: Earvin Magic Johnson

ALT: Magic Johnson of Los Angeles Lakers celebrates after winning the 1980 NBA finals

Magic was always going to be number one because he is, as his name suggests, magic on the court. He will often be cited in the list of the greatest players of all time, never mind just in a single position. 

Johnson was a showman and loved by crowds of fans. He led the Lakers to five titles and picked up three finals MVPs. He picked up a good Lakers team and drove them to the top of the sport. He is quite simply the most beloved NBA player on the planet, in our opinion.

He may have been known for his flamboyance, but he played in a way that is flawless. He was quick to make the right decision and was insanely fast on the break. While his skills with the ball are not doubted, it is intelligence to lead the plays that made him such a great.

Magic was always going to be number one because he is, as his name suggests, magic on the court. He will often be cited in the list of the greatest players of all time, never mind just in a single position. 

Johnson was a showman and loved by crowds of fans. He led the Lakers to five titles and picked up three finals MVPs. He picked up a good Lakers team and drove them to the top of the sport. He is quite simply the most beloved NBA player on the planet, in our opinion.

He may have been known for his flamboyance, but he played in a way that is flawless. He was quick to make the right decision and was insanely fast on the break. While his skills with the ball are not doubted, it is intelligence to lead the plays that made him such a great.

He played thirteen seasons for the Lakers, with an average of 19.5 points and 11.2 assists. He had a brief and unsuccessful period as a coach but he was credited for bringing James and Davis to the current squad and so increasing the chances of another title win.

If you have enjoyed reading this article, make sure to check our rankings of the Lakers’ seven best shooting guards!

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