Warriors

Presented By WarriorsUltimate
Warriors

Editor’s note: Monte Poole, Logan Murdock, Drew Shiller and Grant Liffmann participated in NBC Sports Bay Area's inaugural Warriors Ultimate Draft. All four chose squads from a 25-man pool of legends from the last 30 years, plus five "classic" players from before 1990. Our team of experts will dissect and analyze the merits of each team until a winner is crowned.

Our Warriors Ultimate Draft was limited to those who were with the franchise between 1990 and 2020, which neglects those who came earlier. It so happens that five of them have their numbers retired at Oracle Arena and now Chase Center.

The question we address Monday, though, has to do with the modern NBA. How would those five players fare?

Here we go, in alphabetical order:

Al Attles 

He was a steady ball-handler, a smart playmaker and a fearsome defender. His skills as a point guard were similar to several players in today’s game. Among those that come to mind are Los Angeles Clippers guard Patrick Beverley, Los Angeles Lakers guard Avery Bradley and, perhaps most of all, Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart.

Verdict: Yes. Even without a reliable 3-ball, Attles would be a rotation player in today’s game.

Rick Barry

It’s a shooter’s league, and Barry is in the Hall of Fame mostly because he could score with the best of them. He had deep range, didn’t flinch at driving into traffic and was a wonderful passer.

Searching for comps in today’s NBA, we land upon Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton, Celtics forward Gordon Hayward and Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris.

 

Verdict: Absolutely. With his skills, Barry would be one of the five best small forwards in the NBA.

Wilt Chamberlain

There are those who believe Wilt was a mastodon, plodding up and down the court. Wrong. He was an Olympic-level quarter-miler and a terrific high jumper. One of America’s all-time great athletes who happened to be 7-foot-1.

Verdict: Please. Wilt would be an amalgam of the best of Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert, Cleveland Cavaliers big man Andre Drummond and the 2014 version of Brooklyn Nets big man DeAndre Jordan, an All-Star.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Tom Meschery

The 6-6 combo forward was a one-time All-Star, in 1962-63, when he averaged 16.0 points and 9.8 rebounds. He wasn’t a great shooter but he his tenacity at both ends kept him in the league for 10 seasons, six as a Warrior.

The best of similar players currently in the league are Houston Rockets forward PJ Tucker, Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova and Nets forward Taurean Prince.

Verdict: Probably not. Too small to play the 4 and too slow to play the 3, Meschery would have to scrap for every minute.

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Nate Thurmond

At 6-11, 240 pounds, Thurmond was a decent scorer but a defensive centerpiece. Blocks weren’t counted, but Nate gave fits to the best offensive centers in the league. Among the comps in the modern game are Los Angeles Lakers big men Anthony Davis (except AD’s 3-ball) and Dwight Howard (of a decade ago), with shades of San Antonio Spurs great Tim Duncan.

Verdict: Absolutely. All-time NBA scoring leader Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says Thurmond was his toughest defender. There’s always a place for an agile center that defends at a high level.