(11) 1980 Los Angeles Lakers (60-22) vs. (50) 1993 Los Angeles Lakers (39-43)
This team is still above 60 wins…Boston lasted till 14 till they slipped (and that was because of the shorter year in the 60s…so really 16 teams were above 60 wins…). These guys are getting close to 59…This is Magic’s rookie year (18-8-7), a successful Finals champ, though Kareem really is the alpha-dog (25-11-5). Jamaal Wilkes is good this year, with 20-6-3, and they got 18-3-8 from resident point guard Norm Nixon. Spencer Haywood added 10 points, and Michael Cooper had 9-3-3…but no all-D team.
This team is still a bit below .500…Boston didn’t find the light until 45th spot…and LA’s under .500 teams are generally contenders, just because of the early 60s spread of talent. LA has had 59 playoff appearances since their formation for the 1947 season. Anyway, not much to brag about here…Sedale Threatt had 15-3-7, James Worthy had 15-3-3, and Byron Scott (in limited games) had 14-2-3. Vlade Divac had 13-9, as did AC Green.
(12) 1983 Los Angeles Lakers (58-24) vs. (49) 1976 Los Angeles Lakers (40-42)
Whoops…looks like I jinxed the 60 wins… (not like that was on purpose…..). This 1983 squad was a pretty good team…but fell victim to the Fo Fo Fo Sixers. Kareem averaged 22-8, and Magic had 17-9-11. James Worthy entered the NBA a Laker, averaging 13-5. Jamaal Wilkes had 20-4, Norm Nixon fell to 15-3-7, and in the half season that Bob McAdoo played, he had 15-5. Also key: Kurt Rambis (8-7) and Michael Cooper (8-3-4). Not the best Magic team…but no pushover either.
Not a great bench, but no need for it, as they had Kareem completely destroy everyone/thing with his 28-17-5-1.5-4. Now, I am one to criticize Kareem (he’s too finesse in my opinion…and kinda weak…and kinda whiny…and he did play in a weakish era ((70s))…and he isn’t the best at defense…but he was really good…), but this season is incredible! It’s like Shaq without the muscle! It’s like Wilt without the selfish scoring/defense/choking (actually…I take back the choking part…)! It’s like Mikan in the 50s (except better and more wimpy)! Yessir…that is an incredible year. Add in Gail Goodrich (20-3-6), Lucius Allen (15-3-5), and Cazzie Russell (12 points)….you get 40 wins? Don’t know why…I also don’t know why I spent such a long paragraph on a 40 win team.
(13) 1991 Los Angeles Lakers (58-24) vs. (48) 2007 Los Angeles Lakers (42-40)
This is the Finals team that got beaten by MJ enroute to Championship 1. It’s also the last HIV negative Magic year. Magic was still strong before HIV, averaging 19-7-13. That’s right. He was only 31. He could have pulled a Kareem and stayed till he was 40. But he got HIV….James Worthy was Magic’s go to scorer, with 21-5-4. Byron Scott averaged 15-3-2, Sam Perkins had 14-7, and Vlade Divac had 11-8…pretty good team…
Selfish Kobe (but above .500 Kobe…they did it before Boston…)! Maybe not as much as last year (81 points) but still…and you can’t blame him. His teammates suck worse than Bron’s ever did. Kobe had 32-6-5, and…Luke Walton had 11-5-4. Lamar Odom had 16-10-4 (his one good teammate), and Smush Parker had 11-3-3…awful team.
(14) 2002 Los Angeles Lakers (58-24) vs. (47) 1992 Los Angeles Lakers (43-39)
They have an elite two-some…but not really anything else. Kobe had 25-6-6, and Shaq had 27-11…both really good seasons…nothing special from them though. Derek Fisher had 11-2-3 as their third scorer…
The year after Magic. James Worthy had 20-6-5…in only 54 games though. Sam Perkins had 17-9, Sedale Threatt had 15-3-7, Byron Scott had 15-4-3, AC Green had 14-9, and Vlade Divac had 11-7…nothing special, but not a bad team either.
(15) 1982 Los Angeles Lakers (57-25) vs. (46) 1964 Los Angeles Lakers (42-38)
Another Finals victor that roared through the playoffs (two losses, and both were in the Finals). Kareem had 24-9-3, Jamaal Wilkes had 21-5, and Magic had 19-9.6-9.5 (usually, I would round up here…but this shows how close he was…basically, he had almost 19-10-10…in case you never realized…I do round up/down ((just the regular rounding rules… .4 and below go down, .5 and above go up…))). Norm Nixon was also a great passer, averaging 18-2-8. Michael Cooper had 12-4-3, and Bob McAdoo added 10 points in 41 games…
A great pairing here, though this is the beginning of Elgin’s knee troubles…in the meantime, Elgin was still putting up 25-12-4, and Jerry West had 29-6-6. Dick Barnett had 18-3-3, and Rudy LaRusso had 12-10…not a bad team.
(16) 1989 Los Angeles Lakers (57-25) vs. (45) 2006 Los Angeles Lakers (45-37)
A top notch team, led by the 23-8-13 of Magic Johnson, that couldn’t get past Detroit in the Finals. James Worthy was a worthy second threat, averaging 21-6-4, and Byron Scott was a great third threat, with his 20-4-3. Kareem, set to retire, limped to a 10-5 finish. AC Green added 13-9, Michael Cooper had 7-2-4, and Mychal Thompson had 9-6.
This is Kobe’s famous scoring rampage year, topped off with his 81 point outburst. Kobe totaled the scoreboards with his scoring. His average was 35-5-5. Of course, his team sucked, so they didn’t get far (first round loss). Lamar Odom was his best teammate, with his 15-9-6…and you don’t have an ideal center-point combo with Smush Parker (12-3-4) and Chris Mihm (10-6, and their stats are probably inflated because they had no other options to go to….). Not a good year at all.
(17) 2008 Los Angeles Lakers (57-25) vs. (44) 1978 Los Angeles Lakers (45-37)
Decent year…it was a Finals year, but nothing too great…Kobe had 28-6-5, and Pau Gasol was stolen in a midyear deal; he amounted to 19-8-4 in 27 games. Andrew Bynum (when he actually played) was the center…Odom had 14-11-4 and Fisher had 12-2-3…not great, but not bad.
Ahh…The Punch. Kermit Washington (12-11) played only 25 games before the Punch, and during his suspension, he was traded to Boston for Charlie Scott (12-3-5). But this was Kareem’s team. Kareem had 26-13-4-2-3 in 62 games, which is very impressive. And it wasn’t like he was alone…he had Adrian Dantley (19-7-3), coming over in a mid-year deal from Indiana, for James Edwards (15-7). Norm Nixon had 14-3-7, and Lou Hudson came over in a deal prior to the season, and he was good for 14 points. Jamaal Wilkes played only 51 games this year. I bet they beat 2008….
(18) 2010 Los Angeles Lakers (57-25) vs. (43) 1955 Minneapolis Lakers (40-32)
The most recent LA champs…Kobe led them with 27-5-5, and Pau Gasol played really good, averaging 18-11-3, while Bynum played 65 games, averaging 15-8. Ron Artest joined LA this year, good for 11-4-3. Lamar Odom had 11-10.
It’s kinda weird how we haven’t hit any Mikan teams (with the exception of his comeback in 1956…). And we just miss one by one year here. Pretty good team, with all of the stars from the Mikan era (without Mikan of course). Vern Mikkelsen had 19-10, Clyde Lovellette (he wasn’t really with Mikan at all though…his rookie year was last year and his contribution was small) had 19-12, Jim Pollard had 11-7, and Slater Martin had 14-4-7. They are pretty good without Mikan…
(19) 2011 Los Angeles Lakers (57-25) vs. (42) 1970 Los Angeles Lakers (46-36)
Meh…nothing special. Kobe had 25-5-5, Pau Gasol had 19-10, Odom had 14-9, and Andrew Bynum had 11-9 in 54 games.
This is basically Jerry West’s (31-5-8) team, as Wilt (27-18) played only 12 games (knee), Baylor (24-10-4) played only 54 games, and Happy Hairston (21-13) played only 55 games. Mel Counts added 13-8.
(20) 1953 Minneapolis Lakers (48-22) vs. (41) 1966 Los Angeles Lakers (45-35)
The Lakers of the early 50s. George Mikan (21-14) may not have been at his peak, but was still the leader of the dominant four-some. Vern Mikkelsen had 15-9, Jim Pollard had 13-7-4, and Slater Martin had 11-3-4. Pretty good team.
West had a great year, averaging 31-7-6, while Elgin chugged along for 17-10-3. Rudy LaRusso added 15-9, Mahdi Abdul-Rahman had 14-3-5, Bob Boozer had 12-7, and Gail Goodrich debuted for 8 points.