Los Angeles Lakers is one of the most successful franchises in NBA history. The team has won 16 championships so far during a 72-year-old history. Due to success on the court, the Purple & Gold had less success off court in terms of top draft picks. The Lakers had only fourteen top five picks and only three of them were number one. But, all three of them were iconic.
In 1958, then the Minneapolis Lakers drafted Elgin Baylor. The 6’5″ small forward took NBA by storm. He averaged 24.9 points per game and became and NBA All-Star in his rookie season. Though Baylor finished his career without championships, he went down in history as one of the best Lakers of all time. He averaged 27.4 points, 13.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game during his 14-year NBA career.
In 1979, the Lakers had the first draft pick for the second time in history. And they used it well. Earvin “Magic” Johnson was Los Angeles pick. He helped the Lakers win a championship in his rookie season. The Hall of Famer played a vital role in four titles for the Lakers. One of the best playmakers in the history of the NBA ended his career with averages of 19.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 11.2 assists per game.
The third and the last time as of now that the Lakers were awarded with the top draft pick was in 1982. Once again, the Purple & Gold did not miss. They selected the 6’9″ small forward James Worthy whose name is closely linked with the Lakers to this day. One of Los Angeles greats helped the team win 3 championships in 1985, 1987 and 1988. He had career averages of 17.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3 assists per game. A fact that speaks a lot about his talent is that Michael Jordan picked Worthy in his all-time starting five.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference