1979–80 Los Angeles Lakers season

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1979–80 Los Angeles Lakers season
Eighth NBA Championship
Head coach Paul Westhead
Owner(s) Jerry Buss
Arena The Forum
Results
Record 60–22 (.732)
Place Division: 1st (Pacific)
Conference: 1st (Western)
Playoff finish NBA Champions

Stats @ Basketball-Reference.com
Local media
Television KHJ
Radio AM 570 KLAC
< 1978–79 1980–81 >

The highlight of the Los Angeles Lakers season of 1979–80 was Magic Johnson leading the Lakers to the NBA Title in the team's first season under the ownership of Jerry Buss. Magic’s season represented the birth of the Showtime Lakers.

Offseason[edit]

NBA Draft[edit]

Round Pick Player Position Nationality School/Club Team
1 1 Magic Johnson Guard  United States Michigan State
1 14 Brad Holland Guard  United States UCLA

Roster[edit]

Depth chart[edit]

Pos. Starter Bench Reserve Inactive
C Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
PF Jim Chones Spencer Haywood
SF Jamaal Wilkes Mark Landsberger Marty Byrnes
PG Norm Nixon Michael Cooper Brad Holland
PG Magic Johnson Butch Lee

Regular season[edit]

Season standings[edit]

Pacific Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div
y-Los Angeles Lakers 60 22 .732 37–4 23–18 19–11
x-Seattle SuperSonics 56 26 .683 4 33–8 23–18 18–12
x-Phoenix Suns 55 27 .671 5 37–5 18–22 19–11
x-Portland Trail Blazers 38 44 .463 22 26–15 12–29 13–17
San Diego Clippers 35 47 .427 25 24–17 11–30 13–17
Golden State Warriors 24 58 .293 36 15–26 9–32 8–22
# Western Conference
Team W L PCT GB
1 c-Los Angeles Lakers 60 22 .732
2 y-Milwaukee Bucks 49 33 .598 11
3 x-Seattle SuperSonics 56 26 .683 4
4 x-Phoenix Suns 55 27 .671 5
5 x-Kansas City Kings 47 35 .573 13
6 x-Portland Trail Blazers 38 44 .463 22
7 San Diego Clippers 35 47 .427 25
8 Chicago Bulls 30 52 .366 30
8 Denver Nuggets 30 52 .366 30
10 Utah Jazz 24 58 .293 36
10 Golden State Warriors 24 58 .293 36

Season schedule[edit]

1979–80 season game log
Season Schedule

Playoffs[edit]

1979–80 playoff game log
Playoff Schedule

Magic Johnson[edit]

Having won everything possible at the college level, Johnson decided to leave college two years early and declared himself eligible for the 1979 NBA Draft. The New Orleans Jazz originally had the first draft pick, but they had traded the pick to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for NBA star Gail Goodrich. As a result, the Lakers drafted Johnson with the first overall pick,[1] signing him for a sizable salary of US$600,000 a year.[2]

Johnson joined a franchise which had gone though major changes. The Lakers featured a new coach in Jack McKinney, a new owner in Jerry Buss, and several new players. However, Johnson was most excited about the prospect of playing with his personal idol, the 7–2 center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the leading scorer in NBA history.[2] From the first game, Johnson displayed his trademark enthusiasm for the game. When Abdul-Jabbar hit a last-second free throw line hook shot to win against the San Diego Clippers, Johnson ran around the court, high-fiving and hugging everybody, causing concern that the "Buck" (as Johnson was called by Lakers announcer Chick Hearn for his youth) would burn himself out. However, in that 1979–80 NBA season, the rookie proved them wrong. Johnson introduced an uptempo style of basketball which the NBA described as a mix of "no-look passes off the fastbreak, pinpoint alley-oops from halfcourt, spinning feeds and overhand bullets under the basket through triple teams".[1] Fellow Lakers guard Michael Cooper even stated that: "There have been times when he [Johnson] has thrown passes and I wasn't sure where he was going. Then one of our guys catches the ball and scores, and I run back up the floor convinced that he must've thrown it through somebody."[1] This style of basketball became known as "Showtime". Given Johnson was also a prolific scorer and rebounder, he soon led the league in triple-doubles, racking up 10-points-10-rebounds-10-assists games in a rate only second to NBA Hall-of-Famer Oscar Robertson.[1] In addition, he expressed a raw, childlike enthusiasm which further endeared him to the fans.[3]

Johnson's average of 18.0 points, 7.7 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game was enough to make the All-Rookie Team and become a starter on the All-Star Team, even though the NBA Rookie of the Year Award went to his rival Larry Bird, who had joined the Boston Celtics.[4] The Lakers compiled a 60–22 win-loss record, and with Paul Westhead replacing coach McKinney as a coach after a serious bicycle crash, the Lakers reached the 1980 NBA Finals against the Philadelphia 76ers. Against the fierce resistance of Sixers Hall-of-Fame forward Julius "Doctor J" Erving and Darryl Dawkins, the Lakers took a 3–2 lead before Abdul-Jabbar went down with a sprained ankle. Coach Westhead decided to put point guard Johnson at pivot instead, and on the Sixers' home court, the rookie dominated with 42 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists and three steals, lifting the Lakers to a 123–107 win and winning the NBA Finals MVP award. The NBA regards Johnson's clutch performance as one of the finest individual games ever.[5] Although only twenty years old, he had already won every trophy at the high school, college and professional levels. Johnson also became one of only four players to win NCAA and NBA championships in consecutive years.

Player stats[edit]

Regular season[edit]

Player GP MPG FG% 3FG% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 82 38.3 .604 .000 .765 10.8 4.5 1.0 3.4 24.8
Ron Boone 6 17.7 .350 NA .857 1.8 1.2 0.8 0.0 5.7
Marty Byrnes 32 6.1 .500 NA .867 0.8 0.4 0.2 0.0 2.0
Kenny Carr 6 17.7 .438 NA 1.000 3.4 0.2 0.4 0.2 3.2
Jim Chones 82 29.2 .489 .000 .740 6.9 1.8 0.7 0.8 10.6
Michael Cooper 82 24.1 .524 .250 .776 2.8 2.7 1.0 0.5 8.8
Don Ford 52 11.2 .508 .000 .821 1.9 0.7 0.2 0.3 3.0
Spencer Haywood 76 20.3 .487 .250 .772 4.6 1.2 0.5 0.8 9.7
Brad Holland 38 5.2 .423 .200 .938 0.4 0.6 0.4 0.0 2.8
Magic Johnson 77 36.3 .530 .226 .810 7.7 7.3 2.4 0.5 18.0
Mark Landsberger* 23 16.3 .482 NA .518 7.1 0.6 0.4 0.2 7.0
Butch Lee* 11 2.8 .308 NA .857 0.7 0.8 0.1 0.0 1.3
Ollie Mack 27 5.7 .420 .000 .500 0.8 0.7 0.1 0.0 1.9
Norm Nixon 82 39.3 .516 .125 .779 2.8 7.8 1.8 0.2 17.6
Jamaal Wilkes 82 37.9 .535 .176 .808 6.4 3.0 1.6 0.3 20.0

*Stats after being traded to the Lakers.
†Stats before being traded from the Lakers.

Playoffs[edit]

Player GP MPG FG% 3FG% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 15 41.2 .572 NA .790 12.1 3.1 1.1 3.9 31.9
Marty Byrnes 4 2.0 .333 NA .667 0.3 0.3 0.0 0.0 1.5
Jim Chones 16 27.4 .407 NA .676 6.5 1.8 0.5 0.4 7.4
Michael Cooper 16 29.0 .407 .000 .861 3.7 3.6 1.5 0.7 9.1
Spencer Haywood 11 13.2 .472 .000 .813 2.4 0.4 0.0 0.5 5.7
Brad Holland 9 3.6 .500 .000 1.000 0.6 0.3 0.6 0.0 1.6
Magic Johnson 16 41.1 .518 .250 .802 10.5 9.4 3.0 0.4 18.3
Mark Landsberger 16 12.2 .362 .000 .833 4.3 0.1 0.2 0.1 3.4
Butch Lee 3 2.0 NA NA 1.000 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.7
Norm Nixon 16 40.5 .477 .200 .804 3.5 7.8 2.0 0.2 16.9
Jamaal Wilkes 16 40.8 .535 .176 .815 8.0 3.0 1.5 0.3 20.3

Awards and records[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Earvin "Magic" Johnson". NBA Encyclopedia: Playoff Edition. Archived from the original on 14 December 2007. Retrieved 22 December 2007. 
  2. ^ a b Bork (1994), pp. 56-66
  3. ^ Schwartz, Larry. "Magic made Showtime a show". ESPN.com. Retrieved 22 December 2007. 
  4. ^ "Magic Johnson Statistics". Basketball-Reference.com. Archived from the original on 21 December 2007. Retrieved 22 December 2007. 
  5. ^ "NBA's Greatest Moments: Magic Fills in at Center". NBA Encyclopedia: Playoff Edition. Retrieved 2007-09-13.