Throughout the history of the Los Angeles Lakers franchise there have been a number of standout players who will never have their numbers retired or have statues erected in their honor - call them the Lakers' Forgotten Studs.
As a Lakers fan I want to make sure their legacies are remembered.
Today's installment: Jim Chones
1980 NBA Champion
Jim Chones had played professionally for seven years (two in the ABA, five NBA) before the Lakers traded for him prior to the 1980 season.
The 6'11" forward-center he had already established himself as a solid player before heading to the Lakers, including averaging a double-double with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1978 (15.0 PPG, 10.3 RPG) and in 1979 (13.4 PPG, 10.3 RPG).
Los Angeles won the 1980 NBA title due in large part to stars like Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jamaal Wilkes, and Norm Nixon.
Jim Chones was a perfect compliment to a loaded Lakers' roster.
In the 1980 regular season he appeared in all 82 games and averaged the following:
Jim Chones, 1980 Regular Season: 29.2 MPG, 10.6 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 1.8 APG
He kept up his solid but largely unheralded play in the 1980 postseason by averaging 7.4 point and 6.5 rebounds in helping the Lakers win the NBA title.
The 1981 Missed Opportunity
The Lakers returned the core of their championship-winning team in 1981, including Jim Chones.
But Los Angeles' hopes for a second consecutive title were cut short when Magic Johnson tore cartilage in his knee and was limited to just 37 games.
In Magic's absence Chones stepped up his game and put up very good regular season numbers:
Jim Chones, 1981 Regular Season: 31.2 MPG, 10.8 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.2 BPG
Even with Magic's absence the Lakers still posted a 54-28 record and were favored over the Houston Rockets in their best-of-three first round playoff series.
Magic Johnson returned for the 1981 Playoffs, but some felt his presence divided a team that had been playing well together after his injury. The Lakers eventually lost 2-1 in the first round to a 40-42 Houston Rockets team.
1981 proved to be Chones' last season with the Lakers. He would play one year with the Washington Bullets in 1982 before retiring.
While Jim Chones only spent two years with the Lakers, his contributions were significant in Los Angeles winning the 1980 title. His legacy, though brief, should not be forgotten.
Andrew Sweat is a die-hard Lakers fan. For more from this author, visit Andrew's archive or check these out articles:
- Sports & Recreation
- Jim Chones
- the Lakers
- Magic Johnson