The Lakers have a history of being the winning team because of its great players. They have the best shooters NBA history has ever witnessed. Out of all of them, we chose Jerry West as the best shooter of the Lakers.
West was born on May 28, 1938, into a poor household in Chelyan, West Virginia. He had five other siblings while growing up.
West was a victim of child abuse. His father, Howard Stewart West, physically abused him. He has claimed that he kept a loaded gun underneath his bed as an act of self-defense. West had a rough childhood, and he grew up as a shy kid. He spent his days shooting baskets in his neighbor’s basketball hoop.
He attended East Bank High School from 1952 to 1956. He was benched by his coach due to his lack of height. West eventually became the captain of the basketball team during his freshman year.
Jerry West’s professional career began with a good start. The Los Angeles Lakers picked him in the 1960 NBA draft. He continued to set records and dramatically improve the team’s performance until 1974.
Los Angeles Lakers
West was picked by the Minneapolis Lakers (before relocating to Los Angeles) in the 1960 NBA draft.
Initially, it was hard for West to adjust. His squeaky high pitched voice earned him a nickname, “Tweety Bird.” His teammates were impressed with his defensive hustle and work ethic. He used to spend countless extra hours in practice. His hard work finally earned him his first of fourteen NBA All-Star Game call-ups.
In his second NBA season, he drastically improved his games and established himself as the main Lakers scorer, scoring an average of 30.8 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game. He won the All-NBA First Team honors.
In the 1965–66 NBA season, West averaged a career-best 31.3 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game. He made an NBA record of 840 free throws. The upcoming season was pretty disappointing for the Lakers. West only played 66 regular-season games due to injury.
Due to West’s frequent injuries, he was considering retirement before the 1971-1972 NBA season. In that season, the coach was changed to Bill Sharman. The Lakers were in pretty good shape. They had a 33 game win streak. West contributed with 25.8 points and led the league with a career-high 9.7 assists per game. He was named All-Star, All-NBA, and All-Defense First Teamer and voted 1972 All-Star Game MVP.
The 1973-1974 NBA season was West’s last season before retiring. He could only play 31 games due to a strained groin. He was still regarded as an elite guard for his performance.
Notable Awards and Achievements
West’s work ethic was applaudable. He obsessively practiced for hours until he could perfect it. This is what made him win countless awards.
He won the NBA finals’ most valuable player award (1969), NBA Executive of the Year Award twice, and NBA All-Star MVP (1972). He has also set records that have never been witnessed in NBA history.
Jerry West was an all-around combo guard who could score like a shooting guard. He had a unique jump shot that was called “Lightning quick.”
Throughout his career, he has maintained great performance despite the ups and downs. For this reason, he is the best shooter of the Lakers.