The Los Angeles Lakers have had some of the most amazing clutch players in NBA history. To come through in the clutch is a very important characteristic to many.
In my opinion, it is one of the most important aspects of an athlete’s abilities. Do they want the ball in the clutch? Can they do it? Are they able to stay calm and get the job done? Not everyone can be this way.
Every sport has them. The few and mighty who come through in the clutch. Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, etc.
Here are the nine most clutch players in Los Angeles Lakers history
Please note: I did not put LeBron James on this list as it focuses on players of the past.
9. Michael Cooper
Michael Cooper was a long and lanky shooting guard who is possibly one of the all-time greatest defenders in NBA history. A very intelligent player that also had a very deadly three-point shot, “Cooop” was always the Lakers’ go-to guy when it came to defending an opposing threat.
Opponents knew him all too well as being a fierce and intimidating defender. He was Defensive Player of the Year in 1987 and was named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team five times.
Cooper was part of 5 Lakers championship teams. In the 1985 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics, Cooper guarded the great Larry Bird and caused him to have a horrid shooting night in Game 6. Bird later went on to say that Cooper was the greatest defensive player he ever played against.
8. Derek Fisher
Derek Fisher has to be one of the most underrated players of all time. Fisher was drafted by the Lakers out of Arkansas-Little Rock. A smart and cerebral player that took a grasp of the offense much like a quarterback does in football, Fisher soon found his place in the NBA.
Derek had a long and successful career where he was part of five championship teams (all Laker teams, by the way). I’ll never forget watching the Lakers and Spurs series in 2004. It was Game 4, and with 0.4 seconds left, “D-Fish” got the ball, and hit that fall-away jumper to win the game.
It was one of the most amazing off-balance shots that lives on in NBA history. Later on in his second stint with the Lakers, Fisher hit a three-point shot at the buzzer to send the game into overtime in Game 4 of the NBA Finals against the Orlando Magic.