So Dave McMenamin conjured up the Top 50 Lakers of All-Time list; granted, this is a HUGE undertaking and I can’t pretend to know enough about the 50’s, 60’s & 70’s Lakers to compare to the modern Showtime/Lake Show Dynasties. That said, I do have some comments:
50. Ron Artest – unbelievable that he’s on the list. Unfair to workmanlike lakers that didn’t make the cut (No Terry Teagle? No Brian Shaw?) May end up being a great Laker, but it’s just too darn early.
49. Horace Grant – too low. A key cog in two Title Winners.
48. Mike McGee – Showtime wouldn’t have been Showtime without him.
47. Leroy Ellis
46. Kermit Washington – Honestly, the punch of Rudy T. bans him from this list, in my mind.
45. Cazzie Russell
44. Jim Price
43. Ron Harper – Best years with Bulls & Clippers, but literally the glue guard for Phil to create the Championship Dynasty.
42. Sedale Threatt – Good call. Tough role following Magic but he did it well. The funniest part was Chick Hearn always getting him , Van Exel & Kobe confused when Kobe was a rookie and they both had shaved heads.
41. Jim Chones
40. Luke Walton – I like the guy. I do. But 40th best All-Time Laker? Cmon.
39. Darrall Imhoff
38. Andrew Bynum – Might end up being Top 10 Laker for all I know. . .but for now is just a precocious, injury-prone Big with a tendency to disappear in big games.
37. Elmore Smith
36. Sam Perkins – The Sleepy-eyed bandit. . .I personally LOVED Sam. Too bad he only played two years with the LakeShow or else he’d be higher. Great years with Dallas & SeaTown though.
35. Elden Campbell – a ton of Laker fans hated this guy, but he was one of the original high-flying Centers. Never really consistent, but improved each year with the Lakers and appeared poised for greatness until a guy named Shaq rolled into town.
34. Cedric Ceballos – Obviously the Havasu stunt cost him a bit of respect, but he was one of the best ‘garbage’ scorers in the game. Played for the Lakers during the lean years, and his performance was more reflective of him being the best player on a bad team than overall greatness.
33. Kurt Rambis – Out of principle, respect and bespectacled envy should be at least ten slots higher.
32. “Hot” Rod Hundley – Good work filling in for Stu on the mic the other night. Too bad I never had the chance to see him play.
31. Frank Selvy
30. Mel Counts
29. Trevor Ariza – Hold on, I’m still laughing about this slot. Seriously?!?!? Ariza – 29th?!?!? For one nice Playoff series? Maybe – MAYBE – makes the 40-50 range but 29 is absolutely ridiculous.
28. Glen Rice – Ahhh, one of the five purest shooters in a generation. Gained a bit too much weight to really be effective toward the end, but what a sweet sweet three-bomber. Still should be lower on the list though – never really scored enough for the Purple & Gold.
27. Mychal Thompson – Ahhh, the Bahaman Banger. He was a great, great backup for Kareem and played a key role on a couple of Titles.
26. Bob McAdoo – Really deserves respect for sacrificing a Hall of Fame career as a scorer to win some rings. Great work.
25. Rick Fox – Could even be a bit higher due to his dirty nastiness as a role player for the squad.
24. Nick Van Exel – My absolute favorite Laker between dynasties. Lefty Treys ALL day.
23. Jim McMillian
22. Eddie Jones – fun, exciting, talented, hustling, hard-working. . .sort of like Ariza. . .that actually played well for quite a well and deserves to be this high.
21. Vlade Divac – Could be even higher since his value as a Laker is quintupled by the fact that the Lakers received Kobe Bryant in a trade for him.
20. Robert Horry – Big Shot Bob may not have been a maven numbers-wise, but for his clutchness, deserves to be about five slots higher.
19. A.C. Green – Good guy, good player.
18. Happy Hairston
17. Lamar Odom – Fair.
16. Rudy LaRusso
15. Norm Nixon
14. Pau Gasol – Premature to put him this high, but after one more ring I’m sold.
13. Jamaal Wilkes – Smooth as silk, even with the unorthodox J.
12. Michael Cooper– The Man invented the Alley Oop (with Magic) and played hellacious D and could hit the three. And those Socks? Jeez – Coop may be top ten for all I know.
11. Derek Fisher – Initially I thought this was too high. Then I remember 0.4, four rings, and his stoic, calming demeanor. Great player, great call.
10. Byron Scott – Honestly? Might be too high for me. Great third option, but did he do more than score a bit?
9. Gail Goodrich – Poly of Sun Valley in the house, baby.
8. James Worthy – “Big Game James.” ‘Nuff Said
7. Elgin Baylor – Did most of his dirty work with Minneapolis or would have been higher.
6. Wilt Chamberlain – The Stilt was incredible, and being sixth on any list is an injustice; that said, he was more valuable for Philadelphia, etc, and only won one ring as a Laker. Fair.
5. Jerry West – Again, Jerry West fifth on any list is a travesty. . .except this is pretty fair.
4. Shaquille O’Neal – Ushered in the New Dynasty, then tried to take it with him on the way out. Too bad #3 had something to say about that:
3. Kobe Bryant – and climbing. . .
2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – Sky Hook, Airplane, All-Time Points Leader, The Goggles. . .
1. Magic Johnson – Does it get better than this? Literal best L.A. ATHLETE of ALL-Time, not just Laker.