1. Larry Spriggs
Spriggs is a forgotten player from the Showtime Era. The 6’7 wing was a fourth-round pick in the 1981 NBA Draft that played just 13 games in his first two years before arriving with the Lakers. It cost Los Angeles a third-round pick in 1985, but most people did not think twice about the signing.
Spriggs averaged 3.3 points and 1.6 rebounds in 9.6 minutes each night over 38 games, but he played just 45 total minutes during the team’s run to the finals in 1984. The 6’7 forward was stuck behind elite options, and the minutes were unavailable.
The Lakers got off to a slow start in the 1984-85 season, which forced head coach Pat Riley to make a bold move. His choice was to start Spriggs over James Worthy, Jamaal Wilkes, Kurt Rambis, and Bob McAdoo. Even Spriggs was surprised, and it lasted 32 games from November to January before he moved back to the bench. The message was received, and it helped propel LA to their third championship in six years.
Spriggs played just one more year in the NBA before retiring at 26. During his three seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, he averaged 5.4 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in 13.6 minutes per game. Those are not massive numbers, but Spriggs still was a key part of a title run.
Magic Johnson is one of the best to ever play, and the Los Angeles Lakers did a fantastic job surrounding him with talent. Credit to the franchise for keeping this list small and making the most of Magic’s playing days.