NBA: 30 greatest playmakers in NBA history

(Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers
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5. Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers

Earvin “Magic” Johnson had his career cut short by an HIV-positive diagnosis, but his legacy still lives on today as one of the best playmakers in Los Angeles Lakers’ history. Johnson finished his career with the Lakers during the 1995-96 season putting up 19.5 points, 11.2 assists, 7.2 rebounds and 1.9 steals per contest.

He was a player with a knack for racking up a triple-double every night if you let him. He finished his career with 138 triple-doubles, second all-time in NBA history. Johnson came close to averaging a triple-double twice during his career (1981-82 and 1982-83), showing off his ability to make plays as a playmaker.

He wasn’t a sharpshooter from behind the arc, but anywhere inside it, he was efficient. He shot over 50 percent from the floor in nine of his 13 seasons with Los Angeles, shooting 52 percent from the field throughout his career.

Magic made 12 All-Star appearances, won five NBA championships, led the league in assists per game four times, won three MVP awards and won three MVP Finals awards during his time with the Lakers.

The 2002 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee made nine appearances in the NBA Finals as one of the top playmakers on some of the best teams in Lakers history. He even played the center spot during their run to the 1980 NBA title. He was a positionless playmaker. If his career wasn’t cut short, he probably would have won more titles.