Unsung hero from the first three Showtime Los Angeles Lakers titles: Michael Cooper
Michael Cooper is definitely the most qualified player on this list and quite frankly, you could easily make the case that Cooper should not be on this list because of it. However, he was the only consistent presence from those three title-winning teams and he does get overlooked at times.
Cooper has far more accolades than any other player on this list and has more than Alex Caruso will likely finish his career with. Cooper made the All-Defensive team eight times and was even the Defensive Player of the Year.
Cooper was definitely in the unsung hero category for the 1980 and 1982 championships but he was fully in the scene by 1985. Despite that, though, Cooper is still not one of the first players that you would name when talking about the Showtime Lakers.
Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are obviously the first two. Then you have Hall of Famers in Jamaal Wilkes (who has his number retired by the Lakers) and Bob McAdoo. I would not be shocked if most Lakers fans would then name Bryon Scott before they named Cooper.
Defense was valued more back in the day but in today’s game, Cooper would probably be slightly overlooked because he was not a big offensive presence. Granted, he was an elite defensive player but there are current elite defensive players who get overlooked because of their offensive output.
Alex Caruso is the perfect example.