Matt Barnes

Warriors All-21st Century Team: Steph Curry, Kevin Durant highlight squad

Warriors All-21st Century Team: Steph Curry, Kevin Durant highlight squad

From the futile to the fantastic, the Warriors have spent the first 20 years of this century outraging and thrilling their most loyal fans. Dub Nation takes pride in knowing the post-2011 era, after the franchise was reset, bears little resemblance to the 10 previous seasons.

Which is why our goal of assessing the last 20 seasons and assembling a 15-man roster composed of the best Warriors during that period was comfortably surmountable challenge.

[RELATED: Klay's 37-point quarter 'religious experience' for Kerr]

There was one particularly tough call, but there were far more no-brainers. Without further ado, we present, in alphabetical order, our All-Warriors team of the 21st Century:

GUARDS (6)

Gilbert Arenas: His 129-game Warriors career is the shortest of anyone on this team. But what an impact. Drafted in the second round (No. 30 overall) in 2001, Gilbert was the first player fans grew to love with since the Run-TMC era a decade earlier. He electrified to such a degree that a website (staygilbert.com) was created to basically beg him to not to leave as a free agent.

His departure broke hearts all over the fan base.

Steph Curry: If the Warriors housed every player in their history in a single high-rise, he would have the penthouse suite above Wilt and Rick and Mully. Curry is the only MVP winner in the team’s 58-year Bay Area history, and he did it twice, in back-to-back seasons.

He owns three rings, and his presence was influential in the momentum that led to the construction of Chase Center. Steph torched the old shooter’s blueprint and started a 3-point revolution that altered the way the game is played in gyms around the world.

Baron Davis: Anytime the Warriors want a quick roar at a home game, certainly at Oracle but also at Chase, the game-operations crew know what to do. Play the B Diddy video from 2007. The one where he soars above 6-foot-9 Andrei Kirilenko and mashes him into the dirt.

BD’s arrival in February 2005 lit a fire beneath franchise. Into a locker room of snoozers came this walking alarm bell. The Warriors woke up, and “We Believe” was conceived.

Monta Ellis: Tough call. In his best seasons, the Warriors were a cumulative 95-145. He was the No. 4 scorer on the “We Believe” team and never came close to All-Star status. But Monta is the fastest of productive Warriors this century, using his quicks to average 25.5/24.1/21.9 in the three seasons before he was traded.

Being the most magnetic player on awful teams matters when the tally of losing seasons equals 11.

Jason Richardson: The Warriors had gone eight years without a playoff appearance and four without an All-Star when J-Rich owned 2002 All-Star Weekend in Oakland. A few hours after being named MVP of the rookie game, he came back to win the Slam Dunk Contest on a bounce pass to himself, between-the-legs throwdown that had Arenas dancing on the sideline.

J-Rich was a good player that delivered a seminal moment to a starving fan base.

Klay Thompson: He owns the record for most 3-pointers in a game, 14. Owns the record for most 3-pointers in a quarter, nine. Owns the record for points in a quarter, 37. Owns three championship rings. Has five appearances in the All-Star Game. The only player in shot-clock history to hit 60 in less than 30 minutes. After four seasons among the league’s top-three wing defenders, he was named to the All-Defensive team in 2019.

Any questions?

FORWARDS (6)

Kevin Durant: The biggest free-agent acquisition in the history of the franchise, KD was in Oakland for three seasons, all of which ended in the NBA Finals. The Warriors won two of those Finals, and he was named MVP in both. Too quick for power forwards, too long for small forwards, Durant was a matchup horror, able to create for himself or a teammate. In his spare time, he protected the rim.

The day he announced he was coming to the Bay was, for Warriors fans, Christmas in July.

Draymond Green: To comprehend his impact, one needs three sets of eyes. One to observe Draymond, one for his teammates and one for opponents. Communicating vividly and blowing up offensive sets, he choreographs the defense as an elite point guard does the offense. He also orchestrates the Warriors’ offense.

The result? Three rings, four All-Star Game appearances and a DPOY. To study Draymond at his best is to appreciate the tools required for consistent winning.

Andre Iguodala: Much like Draymond, Andre’s greatest value is his ability to feel the subtleties. Or, as Warriors assistant Ron Adams describes it, “to see the pictures.”

Iguodala is a master at using his hands for the steal/block, which often ignited transition. His shot is inconsistent, but as a Sixth Man he was quick to decipher what the Warriors needed at any given time – passing, energy, rebounding, scoring -- and apply it upon entering the game.

Stephen Jackson: Jackson’s toughness and fearlessness were essential to the Warriors’ massive upset of the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the 2007 playoffs. He slipped inside Dirk Nowitzki’s jersey and then crept into the head of the big German, who was at least five inches taller.

At the other end, Jack made the game easy for his big men and also walked into crucial 3-pointers. The Draymond of the “We Believe” squad.

Antawn Jamison: The oldest man on our roster, Jamison opened the century playing 246 of 246 games, averaging 24.9/19.7/22.2 in scoring and 8.7/6.8/7.0 in rebounding. He is one of 11 players with back-to-back 50-point games, his second coming on a night in Oakland when he matched Kobe Bryant basket for basket.

Kobe was 22 years old, Antawn 21.

David Lee: Lee snapped the team’s 16-year All-Star Game drought. Selected in 2013, he was the first Warrior invited since Latrell Sprewell in 1997.

D-Lee’s defensive inadequacies are as well-chronicled as his personal-stat monitoring, but the first big acquisition under new ownership was a double-double machine, holding that average (18.5 points, 11.2 rebounds) throughout 2012-13, the first of seven consecutive winning seasons.

CENTERS (2)

Andris Biedrins: Averaging 9.5 points and 9.3 rebounds in the “We Believe” season, the 6-11 Latvian climbed to 10.5/9.8 and 11.9/11.2 the next two seasons, leading the NBA in field-goal percentage at 62.4 in the second season. He was one tier away from All-Star consideration at age 23.

Much of his offense was a product of playmaking teammates, but Biedrins was settling into a productive career when he nosedived and never recovered.

Andrew Bogut: If Lee was the first marquee acquisition under new ownership, Bogut was the first addition via seismic trade. With him coming from Milwaukee and Ellis going to the Milwaukee Bucks, the trade was unpopular with many fans -- until it was evident the 7-footer’s presence was crucial to a playoff-worthy defense.

He was a nice lob threat, but his greatest contribution was bringing a defensive mentality previously foreign to the franchise.

WILD CARD

Matt Barnes: The only man to suit up for the “We Believe” Warriors of 2006-07 and, a decade later, the World Champion Warriors of 2016-17. Barnes was not an elite player; he knew that. He scratched and bumped and gritted his way into relevance.

Not one of the other 14 players on our roster would not want Matt as a teammate.

Honorable mention

Harrison Barnes, Ian Clark, Jamal Crawford, Adonal Foyle, Jarrett Jack, Shaun Livingston, Kevon Looney, JaVale McGee, Anthony Morrow, Zaza Pachulia, Marreese Speights, David West.

Kevin Durant calls Steph Curry, Klay Thompson best players he has played with

Kevin Durant calls Steph Curry, Klay Thompson best players he has played with

Kevin Durant is on his fourth NBA team and third franchise, but his most recent move was not the result of him having a low opinion of his star teammates. Nor was the one before that.

Durant joined the Brooklyn Nets this past offseason after three very successful years with the Warriors. Prior to that, he caught a ton of flack for leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder for the team that had just eliminated them from the Western Conference finals. He hasn't played at all this season while rehabbing from a torn Achilles, meaning he has had some extra time on his hands.

What better way to spend it than on the "All The Smoke" Podcast with former Warriors Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson?

Now that I have your attention, you're going to want to hear what Durant had to say. He touched on quite a number of subjects over the hour-plus interview, and towards the end, he was asked who's the best player he has ever played with.

He couldn't pick just one. 

https://twitter.com/gswchris/status/1225321943382949888

"It's a tie between Steph [Curry] and [Russell Westbrook]," Durant answered. "It's got to be. 'Cuz Russ, I never, ever feared that he was going to lose a matchup. ... One thing I didn't ever have to worry about was Russ. Having that comfort and knowing I could have that ease coming into the game from the point guard, it just made my life easier. And I felt the same way with Steph."

Given that Curry and Westbrook combined to win the next three MVP awards after Durant did in 2013-14, it's tough to argue with his selections. It's interesting, though, that he didn't mention James Harden.

In stating the case for Curry, Durant realized he left someone out.

"I know for a fact that no point guard wants to guard him," Durant said of Curry, "'cuz he ain't going to stop moving, so that's going to take a little bit of energy from 'em. And he goin' play with that dog, where it's like he's trying to destroy you with scoring. And our game plan was to get him open at all times, and he's not gonna stop. And so I can rely ... when you can rely on people -- damn, and Klay [Thompson], too. Gotta put Klay in there with them two.

"They're all the same type. They got the dog. Klay got the dog. Like, authentically ... he's an authentic dog. Like, knows his role. 'I'm gonna knock down this trey-ball, I'm gonna get to the cup here and there, but I'm locking up the guy in front of me.'"

"Those three," Durant continued, "it's a tie between those three as my favorites, because they made my life way easier mentally."

[RELATED: Watch Steph, KD share long hug after Warriors' loss to Nets]

Durant's a generational talent, and he has had a few of those for teammates as well.

Warriors star Steph Curry shares his favorite Stephen Jackson story

Warriors star Steph Curry shares his favorite Stephen Jackson story

The Warriors drafted Steph Curry in June 2009, and traded Stephen Jackson a couple weeks into the 2009-10 season.

So the two were not teammates for very long, but it was long enough to create some memories.

And on the most recent episode of Showtime's "All the Smoke" with Jackson and Matt Barnes, Curry shared his favorite "Stack Jack" story:

"This was probably like two weeks before you got traded -- we were on a road trip in Indiana, and like seven of us went to a steakhouse right down the street from the hotel.

"The day before, somebody had started rumblings about your trade rumors and (how) you were unhappy and (how) people in the locker room were unhappy -- media taking over, doing what they do.

"And I remember sitting at the dinner table, and you called up this reporter and cussed him out so bad for writing some untruthful article (laughing). And I'm sitting there, like (laughing) "This how we do it! OK. This how we do it!' I was crying (laughing).

"I was crying. That just told me when he knows what he knows and he's passionate about something, he's gonna let you know."

[RELATED: Steph tells story of encouraging call he got from Monta]

The visual of Jackson cussing out a reporter in the middle of a restaurant is just fantastic, and very on-brand.

"Stack Jack" stories never get old.

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