Record: 58-24, first place in Pacific Division
The Lakers ended up with the first overall pick in the 1982 NBA Draft as the result of a trade with Cleveland midway through the 1979-80 season, when the Lakers had sent Don Ford and a 1980 first-round pick (eventually Chad Kinch) to the Cavaliers for Butch Lee and their 1982 selection. Cleveland finished with the league's worst record in 1981-82, giving the Lakers the top pick, which they used to select forward James Worthy, who had just led North Carolina to the 1982 NCAA title. Worthy proved to be the perfect complement to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson, finishing on the break for Johnson and stepping out to the perimeter when Abdul-Jabbar needed room to maneuver inside.
Playoffs: Worthy suffered a broken leg in the last week of the regular season and had to watch the postseason from the sidelines. Without him, the Lakers were no match for the Philadelphia 76ers and were swept in the NBA Finals.