L.A. Lakers Centers vs. Guards: Who Deserves More Credit for Recent NBA Titles?

The one constant in all of the Los Angeles Lakers NBA Championships since 1971 has been the presence of a great center and superior perimeter players.

From Jerry West, Gail Goodrich and Wilt Chamberlain to Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and more recently Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal and Pau Gasol. The Lakers franchise has persevered and thrived based on the same post-perimeter theory.

It's easy to say that the unique blend of great guards and dominant centers is the reason for the Lakers' championship success, but if you were forced to choose the main catalyst for the Lakers' continued relevance who would you choose?

The Lakers' first championship team since leaving Minnesota was the 1971-72 team which featured West and Goodrich on the perimeter and Chamberlain in the post.

To be fair, Chamberlain was mostly a decoy as he only averaged 13.6 points per game that season, while West and Goodrich combined to average more than 50 points per game. 

Still the Lakers managed to reach consecutive NBA Finals with an aging Chamberlain in the paint, and while West and Goodrich were the driving forces behind the team's lone title Chamberlain certainly forced opponents to respect the team's post game.

The '80s era Showtime Lakers are arguably the greatest NBA team ever assembled and they were led by Magic and Kareem, who are generally considered to be two of the best to ever play their positions.

The Showtime Lakers won five titles between 1980 and 1988, and while equal credit is usually distributed to both Magic and Kareem, Magic probably deserves a little more recognition because he is simply the greatest point guard to ever grace an NBA court.

That's not to say that Kareem is not a legendary player, but there are other centers he can be legitimately compared to while Magic resided in a class all of his own.

One of the more im...

About the Author