The Los Angeles Lakers are the best team in the Western Conference and after defeating the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers in back-to-back games, were many people’s favorite to win the NBA Championship before the current hiatus.
This team is not just special because it is the first competitive team that the Lakers have rolled out in quite some time, it is special because it compares to some of the greatest teams in franchise history.
To determine where this year’s Lakers ranked in a historical context, we used Basketball Reference’s Play Index Finder and sorted every Laker team by Simple Rating System (SRS). SRS essentially combines the team’s margin of victory with the strength of schedule to give a “simple” rating.
There is obviously much more than can go into ranking all-time teams and there are some notable exclusions.
With a 7.75 SRS, the 2019-2020 Los Angeles Lakers are the sixth-best team in franchise history.
But which teams top the current version of the Lakers? You might be surprised which teams didn’t make the cut, in most cases, because their strength of schedule was much lower or they weren’t as dominant compared to the rest of the league.
Number five: 1972-1973 Los Angeles Lakers (8.16 SRS)
One spot ahead of the current-day Lakers is a team that did not even win the NBA Championship — the 1972-1973 Lakers. These Lakers were led by Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain, who were entering their age 34 and 36 seasons, respectively.
The team also featured the prime version of Gail Goodrich, who was entering his second season in his second stint with the franchise after Goodrich was drafted to the Phoenix Suns in the 1968 expansion draft between the Suns and Milwaukee Bucks.
Jim Mcmillian and Happy Hairston were both great role players and the team also featured a 27-year-old guard by the name of Pat Riley, who obviously went on to become a legend in the NBA for reasons other than his play.
The Lakers went on to play in the NBA Finals against Willis Reed and the New York Knicks and lost the series in five games. This was the last time that the New York Knicks won the NBA Championship.