The LA Lakers go down in history as one of the best franchises today, with a remarkable recording stretching over seventy years. Read on to find out the best Lakers teams that ever existed during their respective era.
1. 1960s (1968-69)
During this era, the LA Lakers recorded 55 wins at the end of the regular season. They had beaten the Atlanta Hawks and the San Fransisco Warriors during the playoffs. However, the Lakers would lose during the NBA finals to Boston Celtics. The loss was the sixth time the team was losing during this era. Even then, Jerry West, who played for the Lakers, received the Finals MVP award.
2. The 1990s (1997-1998)
Between 1997 and 1998, the LA Lakers team won a record 61 games before losing during the Western Conference game Finals to Utah Jazz. This season was Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant’s entire season playing for the team.
In that season, the two players appeared in the All-Star Western Conference team. Shaq also landed a mention at the First All-NBA team. Some people opine that the 90-91 team performed better compared to the 97-98 one because they managed to play into the NBA finals under James Worthy and Magic Johnson.
This era marked Pat Riley’s inaugural year as the Laker’s chief coach. He led the team to win its second championship. The leading players in the team were Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul.
Pat replaced Paul Westhead (the former coach) after a disagreement arose between Paul and Magic Johnson, resulting in Paul’s firing. Under Pat Riley, the team played 71 games, out of which they won 50. During the postseason of 1982, LA Lakers won the inaugural two rounds to defeat the George Gervin Spurs and the Suns.
The win pitted them against the Philadelphia 76ers under Julius Ervin. The series was a repeat of a faceoff the two teams had two years before, where LA Lakers won six games against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Magic, alongside Jamaal Wilkes, Norm Nixon, Michael Cooper, Kareem Abdul, and Bob McAdoo (off the bench), went on to win their second MVP finals in what many people have called an outstanding performance.
While the 2000-2001 era marked Kobe and Shaq’s worst performance in the regular season during their three-peat years, it was their optimal postseason performance. Today, every team has experienced a loss during the playoffs, but the Lakers had a near experience in 2001. One of the unforgettable NBA final performances remained when Allen Iverson single-handedly held LA hostage during Game 1.
The Lakers would win all the remaining games in that particular playoffs. 2000-2001 left many people with numerous lessons. For example, it was an indication that LA had put together a team comparable to the best teams of the previous decade.
Further, it illustrated that Phil Jackson was capable of winning a championship twice in the absence of Michael Jordan. It also sealed Kobe Bryant and Shaq as high-level winners of all time. The season marked the starting of separation between Kobe and Shaq, which would later leave the team broken.
The last Lakers Showtime era’s championship was as impressive as the first one. During the regular season, the Lakers had 62 wins, and they navigated through a tough postseason. The LA Lakers played 106 games that led to James Worthy winning the inaugural and only MVP Finals.
Kareem Abdul also had an exemplary performance during this era. He only missed two games during his penultimate regular season. In all the games that he played, he was in the starting team, which he averaged: 14.6 pointers per game (PPG), 1.2 blocks per game (BPG), and 6.0 rebounds per game (RPG). Kareem achieved all this at the age of 40. However, he did not win any title during his farewell tour.
In 1984, the Lakers lost to the Celtics. However, they would come back determined to win. They managed a 62-20 win during the regular season where Kareem Abdul averaged 7.9 RPG and 22.0 PPG. Magic Johnson averaged a double-double and also made it to the First All-NBA team for three years consecutively.
The Lakers maintained a vital win during the playoffs, with Worthy and Kareem averaging 20.0 PPG. Five other Lakers players scored double-digits. Magic ended up with 15.2 Assists per game and 17.5 PPG.
The LA Lakers repeated the previous year’s performance, winning six games against Boston during the finals. Kareem Abdul won the MVP finals award at 38 years, while the Lakers won the third title within six years.
This era marked one of the most impressive comebacks for the Lakers NBA championships history. After numerous dismal performances following Shaq’s leaving, Kobe would in 2008 finally claim the MVP award. He propelled the Lakers to the finals, but they lost six games to Boston.
That disappointment was short-lived as the team would have one of their best regular seasons in this era. They went ahead to win 65 games under Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant. The two men led a strong team where Derrick Fisher started all the 82 games they played as the point guard. Andrew Bynum and Trevor Ariza were the support staff.
Kobe had an outstanding performance during the postseason, where he averaged 5.3 RPG, 30.2 PPG, 1.7 steals per game, 5.5 APG, and 0.9 blocks per game. Pau Gasol supported him with over 10.8 RPG and 18.3 PPG. The Lakers navigated some of the most challenging games against Denver and Houston to win 4-1 against Orland during the finals. The match ended with the Lakers becoming champions once more and Kobe getting his first MVP finals award.
The LA Lakers have had some of the most competitive players over the years. Teamwork has been instrumental in propelling the team into victory. Even when they lost some games, determination would see them rise to victory again. Are you a Lakers fan? This article should help you learn more about your team.