Greatest All-Time Starting 5: Golden State Warriors
Here at Off the Glass we’re taking on the arduous task of going through every NBA teams’ greatest possible starting five, using players that have played for that franchise. A player at each position (Point Guard through Center) will be selected, along with a 6th man who can be any position.
This is how it works:
Players selected must have played at least two full seasons for the franchise
The selection will be based on a combination of statistics, accomplishments/accolades and their significance to the franchise in question
Players had to have predominantly played at that particular position for at least one season to be eligible
Let’s get started.
Golden State Warriors
Point Guard – Stephen Curry: What a difference a year makes. If I were writing this article a year ago I would be writing about Baron Davis or Tim Hardaway as the starting PG for the all-time Warriors team. But there is absolutely no way I can ignore the brilliance of Steph over the last couple of seasons. He has been accomplishing things that many of thought to be impossible and he’s doing it on a nightly basis. He has become a superstar in the NBA, seemingly overnight, by leaving us in awe game after game. Only 28 years old, Steph is already a 2-time MVP, NBA champion and has been dubbed the greatest shooter of all time.
Shooting Guard – Chris Mullin: If Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are the Splash Brothers, then perhaps that makes Chris Mullin the Splash Father. During the 1990s Chris Mullin was one of the elite wing players along with the likes of Michael Jordan, Reggie Miller, Clyde Drexler and Scottie Pippen and he carried the Warriors to 5 playoff berths during his time with the team. Although he doesn’t have much in the way of awards or championships, Mullin was named to the All-NBA team 4 times – once to the 3rd team, twice to the 2nd team and in 1992 he was named the 1st team. To get a better read of Mullin’s significance to the Warriors, one need not look any further than the franchise career leaderboard. Mullin ranks in the Warriors top 5 for points, minutes played, field goals, 3-pointers, free-throws, defensive rebounds, assists, steals, and he is the all-time leader in games played.
Small Forward – Rick Barry: Don’t let the underhand free throw technique fool you – Rick Barry was an assassin. During his 8 years with the Warriors, Rick Barry averaged an outstanding 25.6 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 5.1 APG and 2.3 SPG. During the 1970s Barry led the Warriors to 2 division titles and in 1975 led the franchise to its first NBA Championship in 20 years, while also collecting Finals MVP honors. Unfortunately, during his 4 season in the ABA, Barry suffered a knee injury that hindered his production during his NBA career. Looking at the numbers Barry was able to put up, it’s hard to believe that he was hobbled during most of his time with the Warriors – just imagine what he would have been able to accomplish had he been healthy throughout his entire career.
Power Forward – Nate Thurmond: Okay, so yes, Nate Thurmond predominantly played center for the Warriors. However, in college and during his first few seasons with the Warriors, Thurmond spent a lot of time at the power forward position. He wasn’t the biggest guy in the league (not that being 6’11” and 225 lbs. is considered small) but Thurmond was arguably the strongest player in the NBA during the 1960s. This helped him establish himself as an elite rebounder and low post scorer during his career with the Warriors. During the 1967/1968 season, he actually averaged 20.5 PPG and 22.0 RPG. Those numbers are almost unthinkable in today’s NBA, yet Thurmond put up similar season averages multiple times throughout his career. In case that wasn’t argument enough for Thurmond, he was a mainstay on the All-NBA defensive teams between 1968 and 1974 and in 1967 he was the runner-up to Wilt Chamberlain in MVP voting.
Center – Wilt Chamberlain: Talking about Wilt Chamberlain’s stats always makes me laugh. The numbers are just so outrageous. This is what Wilt the Stilt’s 3 best seasons looked like statistically (and I swear these are genuinely his season averages):
50.4 PPG – 25.7 RPG – 2.4 APG – 31.7 PER
44.8 PPG – 24.3 RPG – 3.4 APG – 31.8 PER
36.9 PPG – 22.3 RPG – 5.0 APG – 31.6 PER
All three of those seasons were with the Warriors. Those numbers are preposterous. They almost seem like a joke. Yet, that’s what Wilt did year in and year out throughout his 15 year career. However, despite these otherworldly numbers, Wilt was only named MVP of the league once during his 6 seasons with the Warriors (he would go on to win the award 3 more times later in his career) and couldn’t lead the Warriors to championship.
6th Man – Baron Davis: Choosing Baron Davis at the 6th man here might be a little self-indulgent, but then again it might not. Davis’ numbers during his 3 year tenure with the Warriors were impressive: 20.1 PPG, 8.1 APG and 2.0 APG. But what puts him on this list has nothing to do with regular season numbers, individual awards or team accolades. In 2007, Baron Davis led the Warriors to one of the most magical postseasons in franchise history. No, they did not win a championship, but when the 8th seed Warriors upset the title favorite Dallas Mavericks in the first round, they made history. They became the first 8-seed to eliminate a 1-seed over a season game series. Throughout that postseason run Davis averaged 25.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 6.5 APG, 2.9 SPG and a 26.8 PER. To put that into perspective, during his 2015 title winning playoff run, Steph Curry recorded a PER of 24.5.
Did I miss any of your favorite Lakers? Let me know if you agree or disagree – @awrxshxx