Lakers History: The Five Greatest Point Guards
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Originally Published on April 3, 2012

The Los Angeles Lakers have seen their fair share of great point guards and these players have led the Lakers to numerous titles. The point guards are the floor generals and they are the ones who dictate how the offense runs.

From the earlier stages of the franchise to the current state of the team, the Lakers have had strong point guards and ones who never lived up to expectations. However, at the end of the day, the guards who shined and won games for the Lakers are the ones who will always be remembered.

5: Nick Van Exel

Nick Van Exel was the draft day steal for Jerry West as he turned a 37th-overall draft pick into a solid point guard who spent five seasons with the Lakers. Van Exel appeared in one All-Star game for the Lakers and the fans loved him for his explosive offensive attack.

He was an athletic guard who could attack the rim but had to deal with a mediocre Lakers team during his time. Van Exel averaged 14.9 points and 7. 3 assists per game, but his time with the team was cut short.  He was a solid player for the Lakers, but his career with the team was not very long and he did not have the opportunity to shine in Los Angeles.

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4: Norm Nixon

Norm Nixon spent six seasons with the Lakers and although he was not the biggest player on the court, he was very physical. Nixon used his strength and was always one of the toughest players in uniform.

In his time with the Lakers, Nixon averaged 16.4 points and 7.9 assists per game. Nixon was more reliable and consistent than Van Exel and he made the most of his tenure as a Laker. Nixon was a member of two Lakers championship teams and was a great offensive weapon.

Nixon took some scoring pressure off the stars and in fact, he led the Lakers in the post-season scoring in the 1982 run. ‘Stormin Norman Nixon’ will always be remembered by Lakers fans and he can now be seen on Fox Sports West covering the current team.

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3: Derek Fisher

Derek Fisher is a consummate professional and although he was traded by the Lakers on March 12, 2012, he will always hold a place in the hearts of Lakers fans. Fisher was the ultimate clutch player and the coaching staff could always rely on him to make the big shot.

Fisher did not put up the greatest numbers and he was never one to pat his box score. Instead, Fisher was more concerned about winning the game and he was always ready to hit the big shot. Kobe Bryant trusted Fisher in the final seconds of the game and more times than not, the ball went in the net.

Fisher is now with the Oklahoma City Thunder, but he left his fingerprints on the franchise with his five titles. Derek Fisher spent 13 seasons with the Lakers and he averaged 7.9 points and 2.9 assists per game.

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2: Gail Goodrich

Hall-of-Famer Gail Goodrich comes in at number two for his incredible career with the Los Angeles Lakers. Goodrich is one of the few players to have his jersey retired with the Lakers and was a member of the 1972 title team. He was the leading scorer on that team, beating out all-time greats like Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West.

Goodrich was a native of Los Angeles and he had a nine-season tenure with the Lakers.  Goodrich averaged 19 points per game in his time with the Lakers and is no doubt one of the most underrated players in franchise history.

Not many people understand what Goodrich did for the Lakers and despite being an intricate part of the team’s 1972 title team, observes still question who number 25 is ranging in the rafters.

There may be those who think Goodrich was more of a shooting guard than a point guard, but since his greatest moments came will playing point with Jerry West, he makes this list rather than our shooting guard list.

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1: Earvin “Magic” Johnson

Magic Johnson is miles ahead of the competition in this race and he is quite often considered the greatest Laker player to have ever suited up for the team. Johnson redefined the sport of basketball with his Showtime style and he led the Lakers to five titles and he won three Finals MVPs in that stretch.

Words cannot truly describe what Johnson meant to the Lakers and the city. He brought the Lakers to the top of the NBA world and was by far the most beloved figure in Los Angeles.

The way Johnson played was flawless and no other point guard in NBA history made the same impact as him. He was quick with the rock and made decisions on the spot. Johnson had the ability to read the defensive and could run an impeccable fast-break.

Johnson began and ended his career with the Lakers and along with his five titles, three Final MVPs, and three regular-season MVPs, he averaged 19.5 points and 11.2 assists per game in 13 seasons.