Although the team has spent most of the last twenty years in the basement of the Pacific division, the Warriors are one of the oldest teams in the NBA. As we get ready for the 2014-15 NBA season, I thought it might be fun to make an all-time Golden State Warriors team. Dangerous maniacs (Latrell Sprewell), talented people who didn’t give a damn when they were with Golden State (Bernard King, Robert Parish, Chris Webber), and lazy unmotivated asses (Joe Barry Carroll, Sleepy Floyd.) Accomplishments cited include only the time spent as Warriors.
1. Stephen Curry (PG, 2009-present): 1x All-Star, All-NBA 2nd team. A better leader and floor general than Tim Hardaway, Curry had a breakout season this year, with a 50 win team, their third playoff appearance of the new millennium, and the first of many all-star appearances.
2. Chris Mullin (SG, 1985-1997; 2000-2001): 5x All-Star, 1x All-NBA 1st team, 2x 2nd team, 1x 3rd team. Mullin was the face of the organization during its renaissance in the late 80s and early 90s, a deadly outside shooter, and the hardest worker in the league.
3. Rick Barry (SF, 1965-1967; 1972-1978): 1 ring, 1 Finals MVP, 8x All-Star, 1x All-Star MVP, 5x All-NBA 1st team, 1x 2nd team, 1 scoring title. Rick Barry’s career had plenty of high points, as a young player in the 60s and a seasoned player in the 70s, one of the most consistent scoring threats and one of the best passing forwards ever. Unfortunately, his loud mouth and penchant for alienating teammates also hurt the team in the long run.
4. Nate Thurmond (PF, 1963-1974): 7x All-Star, 5x All-Defense team. Although a center (and Wilt’s backup in the earlier parts of his career), Thurmond was just too good a player to keep out of the starting lineup. The man was an unstoppable defensive monster, and a key component of Warriors teams that made the Finals in the 60s. Unfortunately, his prime coincided with Wilt, Russell, Kareem, and Willis, which means he never made an All-NBA team or achieved much renown.
5. Wilt Chamberlain (C, 1959-1965): 6x All-Star, six time scoring champ, 1x MVP, Rookie of the Year, 4x All-NBA 1st team, 2x 2nd team. Wilt never won a championship with the Warriors, but his early career, he was a statistical force unequaled in league history. His 100-point game happened in a Warriors jersey.
6. Paul Arizin (SF, 1950-1962): 1 ring, 10x All-Star, 1x All-Star MVP, 3x All-NBA 1st team, 1x All-NBA 2nd team, 2x scoring titles. He’s the man who invented the jump shot, and one of only three pre-shot clock players on Bill Simmon’s basketball pyramid.
7. Tim Hardaway (PG, 1989-1996): 3x All-Star, 1x All-NBA Second Team, 1x All-NBA Third Team. The facilitator of the Run-TMC era.
8. David Lee (PF, 2010-present): 1x All-Star, 1x All-NBA Third Team. The Warriors have had very few good power forwards in their history, but Lee is certainly among them.
9. Neil Johnston (C, 1951-1959): 1 ring, 6x All-Star, 3 scoring titles, 4x All-NBA 1st team, 1x All-NBA 2nd team. Maybe 6’8″ isn’t tall enough for the center position these days, but Johnston’s career is so important to early basketball that it would have been a sin not to include him.
10. Phil Smith (SG, 1974-1980): 2x All-Star, 1 ring, 1 All-NBA Second Team, 1 All-Defense Team. A forgotten piece of the puzzle to the 1975 championship.
11. Tom Gola (SG/SF, 1955-1962): 1 ring, 5x All-Star, 1x All-NBA Second Team. The first of the bigger, more aggressive guards.
12. Joe Fulks (PF/C; 1946-1954): 1 ring, 3x BAA First Team, 1x All-NBA Second Team, 2x All-Star, 1 scoring title. The first great Warrior. Fulks led the Warriors to the first championship in the NBA’s immediate predecessor, the BAA.
Biggest Strengths: It’s going to be difficult to outscore these guys. You have three score-at-will players (Mullin, Chamberlain, Barry) in the starting lineup, and a very strong bench. Also, with three reliable outside shooters in the starting lineup, who need to be guarded at all times, you’re eventually going to run out of guys to foul Wilt.
Biggest Worries: There’s plenty of that. 1) Defense. Nate Thurmond, a perennial All-Defense Team player throughout his career, can’t make up for the defensive liabilities of Barry, Mullin, and Curry. All three are crafty and great at steals, but their defensive liabilities add up after that. 2) Ego. Warriors-era Chamberlain pathologically needed the ball in his hands to perform. Having to share with others will not be easy. I’m also very worried about Rick Barry, his toxic interpersonal skills, and his inability to get along with teammates. 3) This might be the whitest all-time team in the league not named the Boston Celtics. We’ve got Wilt, but this is not a team that will be playing above the rim.
How They’d Fare: Well, they have between five and seven of the greatest 100 players in NBA history (Chamberlain, Barry, Mullin, Arizin, and Thurmond are undisputed, with Hardaway and Johnston in consideration as well.) The Warriors’ history and longevity gives it some great players, but if faced with less decorated players from the modern era (like, say, an all-time Heat or Magic team), I can’t see them keeping up.