Greatest NBA Player #20: Jerry West-162.58
Lakers Legend Jerry West spent nearly 40 years with the team as a scout, coach, general manager, and, of course, as a player. He is mostly now known as the model for the NBA’s logo and as the architect for both the Showtime Lakers and the Shaq-Kobe 3-peat, but West was every bit as good on the court as he is off.
West spent all fourteen seasons of his playing career in Los Angeles and is one of only three NBA players to have 25000 points, 5000 rebounds, and 5000 assists in their careers with the same team. If that weren’t impressive enough, he won the first-ever NBA Finals MVP award in a losing effort, then later led the Lakers to an NBA record 33 straight wins and a championship three seasons later.
Though West ended up with 162-win shares, that may discount just how good he was. In addition to being one of the best scorers in NBA history, West was known as one of the best defensive players of his era, even making five all-defensive teams. Still, blocks and steals weren’t recorded during his playing career, leaving win shares to estimate his defensive impact rather than hard stats.
There also wasn’t a three-point line, which could have dramatically impacted West’s ability to score. Especially with Elgin Baylor and Chamberlain as teammates. The same could be said for those players and several others on this list, however. Either way, West is still a top-20 player.