The 10 Best Lakers Point Guards Ever

Written By


magic johnson

In the era of position-less basketball, everyone tries to be a point guard. But not everyone can be. The Lakers have had some great ones, though. So who are the best Lakers point guards ever?

The traditional definition of an NBA point guard is he’s the man who handles the ball, who leads the break, runs the offense, delivers the passes that lead to points (assists) and is the floor leader.

That definition no longer applies. All five players on an NBA team are expected to handle the ball, make the correct pass, and now, more than ever, point guards need to score.

This is our list of the best Lakers ever to play point guard. Right away, the hardest part is determining who plays/played point guard. Was Kobe Bryant a point guard? Is LeBron James? Magic Johnson played in the post, but is he a point guard?

So we hedged. If listed their position as point guard, they qualified. If not, they didn’t. (Sorry Kobe). Send an email to if you want to complain.

In the meantime, here are the best Lakers to ever play the point.

Derek Fisher

Fisher shows how the responsibilities of a point guard changed over time. When Fisher was drafted in 1996 out of Little Rock, he didn’t need to handle the ball for the Lakers. They had Kobe to do that. They needed Fisher to make smart decisions, be poised and make open shots when the defense sagged in on Kobe’s drives to the basket.

Fisher used those skills to play in the NBA for 18 years. He ranks second in Laker history with 846 threes, and is forever remembered for his basket with .4 left in the NBA playoffs against the Spurs in 2004.

Gail Goodrich

History has forgotten Goodrich, and that’s a shame because he was a great combo/point guard for the Lakers in the late 60s and early 70s. Goodrich had 2,863 assists with the Lakers and was a five-time NBA All-Star.

Goodrich is in the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame and scored 19 points in his years with the Lakers.

LeBron James

Basketball-reference does list James as a point guard, and pretty much every other position on a basketball court.

It is time to give the King his credit for being one of the best playmakers in NBA history. He ranks seventh all-time in NBA history with 10,045 dimes and has 8.2 assists in his Laker career. And yes, he can score a little too. Yes, James is a point guard….and everything else.

Magic Johnson

If we were ranking this list, then yes, Johnson is clearly No. 1. He leads the Lakers franchise in assists with 10,141. He’s sixth all-time in NBA history in assists. And he’s a 12-time NBA All-Star and five-time NBA champion.

Johnson also represents the evolution of the point guard position in the NBA. He was too big (6-foot-9) just to play the point his entire career, so he deferred a lot of his point guard duties to Byron Scott and Michael Cooper, but deep down, we all know Magic ran the point.

Slater Martin

Martin was the Gary Payton of his day, or maybe a Chris Paul. Just 5-foot-10, Martin was a defensive-oriented point guard for the Minneapolis Lakers in the 50s.

But was he good? The Lakers won four NBA titles with him at point guard (back then, he was the one and only point guard). Martin didn’t score a lot of points (9.8 in his career), but he was the leader when he was on the floor. He’s in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Steve Nash

Nash spent only two years with the Lakers and was injured for most of them, but he was a true pass-first point guard for his era. Now that I think about it, he may be the last of that era. Nash is better known for his years elsewhere, but he has to rank as one of the best point guards ever to wear a Laker jersey. He’s No. 4 all-time in NBA history with 10,335 assists.

Norm Nixon

When Magic came to Los Angeles, Nixon was the point guard, but why put Nixon or Magic on the bench when they’re two of your five best players? So Stormin’ Norman and Magic sort of ran the co-point for a few years.

Nixon was a key part of the Lakers’ NBA titles in 1980 and 1982. He was a great free throw shooter and is fourth in the franchise with 3,846 assists.

Gary Payton

‘The Glove’ is another example of the evolution of what a point guard was expected to do. Payton was always known for his defensive prowess. He was named to the All-NBA Defensive team nine times.

Payton only spent one year with the Lakers, that was the year they tried to buy a title in 2003-2004, and it flamed out terribly, but Payton wasn’t the problem. He had a good year. And his offensive skills are underrated. Payton is tenth in NBA history with 8,966 assists. If you had one game to coach in basketball history and Gary Payton was your point guard, you’d be comfortable with that.

Byron Scott

Here we go again with the labels. Was Scott a true point guard? I’d more call him a combo guard, but is there any way the Lakers aren’t successful in the 1980s without him? He and Magic shared play-making duties while also putting up points. Scott had a career high 4.1 assists in the 87-88 season, which was the year the Lakers repeated as NBA champs.

Jerry West

Was West a point guard? I think a better term may just be “guard” because West could score better than anyone in his era. He still ranks 23rd in NBA history in career points.

But West could dish it out too. He’s third in Lakers history in assists (6,238), and the year of his only NBA title, he had a career-high 9.7 assists. I’ll say the same thing about West I said about Gary Payton; if you were coaching one game in basketball history and Jerry West said he wanted to be your point guard, you’d sign up for that.