Originally Published on April 6, 2012
The Los Angeles Lakers have had some of the greatest scorers in NBA history, and ones who have brought multiple championships to the franchise. Shooting guards are an intricate aspect of a title team and coaches rely on these players to score points when needed.
The Lakers are known for high powered offenses and shooting guards have been the centerpieces to most of those attacks. It is time to rank the top five shooting guards the franchise has ever seen.
5: Eddie Jones
Eddie Jones was drafted tenth overall in the 1994 NBA Draft by Jerry West, and he quickly became a fan favorite in Los Angeles. The Temple product quickly became an All-Star guard for the Lakers and was known for his speed and quickness.
Jones spent five seasons with the Lakers before being traded in the 1998-1999 season for Glen Rice. Jones did not have enough time to leave a major footprint with the Lakers and his time with the franchise was cut short. The Lakers used Jones as a mentor for Kobe Bryant, but the 1996 draft pick from Lower Merion High School took over the starting role at the two-guard.
In his five seasons with the Lakers, Jones averaged 15.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.
Michael Cooper was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in the third round of the 1978 NBA Draft, and he ended up playing all 12 seasons with the Lakers. Although Cooper’s career started off with a little turbulence, he eventually stepped up his game and had five 82-game seasons.
Cooper came into the league as a skinny prospect, and his ability to play in the league was often questioned. However, Cooper turned into a valuable piece to the Lakers’ Showtime Era and won five NBA titles for the franchise.
In his 12 seasons with the Lakers, Cooper averaged 8.9 points, 3.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. Cooper was known for his defensive attack and left the Lakers as a member of five All-NBA Defensive Teams. Cooper is also the only player in Los Angeles Lakers history to win the Defensive Player of the Year Award.
3: Byron Scott
Byron Scott came to the Lakers with great expectations as he was traded for the much-beloved Norm Nixon. However, Scott, no doubt exceeded expectations and is one of the most respected Lakers players of all-time.
Scott played ten seasons for the Lakers and in that time he won three NBA titles.
Scott formed one of the most athletic backcourts in the NBA with Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson and those two ran the fast break to perfection.
Showtime was highlighted by those two guards running the floor and often times Scott threw it down after an amazing pass by Johnson.
As a Laker, Scott averaged 15.1 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.8 assists.
Although Scott won several team accolades, it is a shame that he never got a chance to play in an NBA All-Star Game.
2: Jerry West
Jerry West is considered one of the greatest Lakers of all-time and will be forever revered by followers of the franchise. West was a dynamic player who could do almost everything on the court. West, who is now the NBA’s logo, was a prolific scorer and was the franchise’s all-time leader in that category up until Kobe Bryant broke it a few years ago.
West was drafted by the Lakers with the second overall pick in the 1960 NBA Draft and spent all of his 14 seasons with the team. With the Lakers, West averaged 27.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 6.7 assists per game. West also led the Lakers to the 1972 NBA Championship for the only title in his NBA career.
West is the only player in NBA history to win Finals MVP on a losing team, but his eight Finals losses with the majority of them coming from the hands of the Boston Celtics, are something many people cannot overlook.
1: Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant is no doubt the greatest shooting guard in Los Angeles Lakers history, and many consider him the greatest Laker to have ever played. Bryant’s body of work speaks for itself and he holds the top position in franchise history for nearly every category.
Bryant became the Lakers’ all-time leading scorer last season after already being the franchise leader in games, minutes played, field-goal attempts, three-point field goals, and three-point field goal attempts. This season Kobe also became the franchise leader in most free throws and most field goals made, and now he is closing in on the team’s all-time leader in steals.
The Lakers did not draft Kobe Bryant, instead, they traded Vlade Divac to the Hornets for the rights to Kobe, one of the biggest steals in draft history.
In his 16th NBA season, Bryant has played every second with the Lakers and is currently averaging 28.o points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.7 assists with the team.
The things Kobe Bryant has done for the Lakers cannot be described and what he has accomplished with the team is unparalleled. Bryant has won five NBA titles, two Finals MVPs, one regular-season MVP, four All-Star Game MVPs, has 14 All-Star Game appearances, has been a two-time scoring champion (currently leading the NBA in scoring) and has nine appearances on the All-NBA First team and All-Defensive First team.