NBC Sports

60 greatest Warriors in 60 years in the Bay: No doubt who's No. 1

NBC Sports
  • Editor's note: On the 60th anniversary of the Warriors moving to the Bay Area, we are counting down the 60 greatest Warriors in the last 60 years. Here is part 3, from 20 through 1.

Whether San Francisco or Golden State, the West Coast version of the Warriors almost always have had a roster with at least one star – if not always an All-Star.

The team has entertained, occasionally for better but often for worse, Bay Area sports fans since 1962. The franchise has slept in the NBA basement and celebrated in its penthouse, never once uttering a serious threat to leave the region.

With that in mind, and as the franchise embarks on its 60th season in the Bay, we offer what we consider the best of the Warriors. The 60th Anniversary team. 

Criteria: Collective success matters, but individual impact is emphasized. Duration is taken into account, but each player must have spent at least one full season with the franchise. Honors matter. Though I’m primarily responsible for the order, we encourage debate and even vehement disagreement.

PART 1: JaVale, Matt Barnes make list of 60-41
PART 2: Monta, Livingston make list of 40-21

Here goes part 3, from 20 through 11:

20-Latrell Sprewell (1992-98)

In five full seasons, he made three All-Star teams, one All-NBA team and one All-Defensive team. He was as emotionally volatile as he was physically gifted, and that was his downfall. Attacking the coach resulted in a suspension and divorce.

19-Andrew Bogut (2011-16, 2019)

For about 30 seasons, defense was low priority. A bold move was required to change that, and that came in the form of a 7-footer specialized on that end. Bogut was the third brick in altering the trajectory of the franchise.  

18-Chris Webber (1993-94, 2008)

Trading him after one season wrecked the franchise for years. As the No. 1 overall pick in 1993, the supremely talented big man arrived as the savior. Was named Rookie of the Year. Fans were hyped. He clashed with Don Nelson. Oh, what might have been.

 

17-Mitch Richmond (1988-91)

To hear the stories, you’d think he played five or six seasons. No. Three. They were wondrous. He put the “M” in Run-TMC and posted a 47-point, 12-rebound, 11-assist triple-double in his Rookie of the Year season in 1989. Hall of Famer.

16-Tim Hardaway (1989-1996)

In six healthy seasons as a Warrior, the fiery point guard made three All-Star teams. He led the popular Run-TMC teams and was the first to popularize of the crossover dribble – his version was called the “UTEP two-step.” The Hall of Fame awaits.

15-Phil Smith (1974-80)

Conceivably the most underpublicized great player in Warriors history, he made one All-NBA team, one All-Defensive team and two All-Star teams. The 6-foot-4 combo guard was a rookie on the 1975 title team, averaged 24.0 per game as a sophomore.

14-Jamaal Wilkes (1974-77)

No mere a rookie on the 1975 championship team, he was the rookie: Rookie of the Year. In Year 2, during which the Warriors won 59 games – tops in franchise history until 2015 – he was an All-Star. He excelled in triumph. In the Hall.

13-Baron Davis (2005-08)

When the Warriors were spinning their wheels into NBA quicksand, his arrival brought credibility and generated the energy that led directly to the memorable “We Believe” squad. He was a leader, the first star acquired in trade that embraced the new surroundings. 

12-Don Nelson (coach, 1988-95, 2006-10)

Though none of his teams reached the NBA Finals, or even the Conference Finals, the Hall of Famer got the Bay Area to fall in love with entertaining basketball and three things that shall resonate forever: Run-TMC, “We Believe” and Stephen Curry.

11-Alvin Attles (player, coach, executive, ambassador 1962-current)

The emotional leader of the team in the early Bay Area years, he became a player-coach and then the full-time coach, guiding the team to a championship in 1975. He has served the franchise through six decades. He is the godfather.

10-Steve Kerr (coach, 2014-current)

Don’t know if he’s the greatest coach in franchise history, but he surely is the most accomplished. Navigating turbulence, massaging egos and inspiring the uninspired, he took a team on the rise to the top and kept it there for five straight seasons.

9-Andre Iguodala (2013-2019, 2021-current)

The connective figure binding starters, reserves and coaching staffs for the team with the most impressive five-year run in the post-merger NBA, he took a discount to join the Warriors as a free agent and wound up as 2015 Finals MVP.

8-Chris Mullin (player, executive, 1985-97, 2000-01, 2003-09)

The first of 23 lottery picks in franchise history and the first to enter the Hall of Fame, he’s a five-time All-Star and four-time All-NBA member. He is the franchise leader in games and as general manager assembled the “We Believe” squad.

 

7-Draymond Green (2012-current)

Often described as the “heartbeat” of the dynastic Warriors, the three-time All-Star enjoyed setting the ferocious defensive tone, particularly within the vaunted “Death Lineup,” that was at the core of their success. His entry into the starting lineup triggered it all.

6-Klay Thompson (2011-current)

Another member of the dynastic core, no one is better when hot. Klay becomes irrationally accurate, which explains his possession of several one-game scoring records, like 37 points in a quarter. The five-time All-Star also happens to be a terrific defender.

5-Wilt Chamberlain (1962-65)

The Bay Area’s original NBA superstar. Oh, sure, he played only two full seasons in the Bay Area. He averaged 44.8 points and 24.3 rebounds in the first, 36.9 and 22.3 in the second. While playing 46.8 minutes per game. Case closed.

4-Nate Thurmond (player, ambassador, 1963-74)

No one has dropped more sweat for this franchise than its career minutes leader, a seven-time All-Star and five-time All-Defensive teamer who spent 11 seasons in the Bay Area. Nate not only was star on the court but also in the community. 

3-Rick Barry (1965-67, 1972-78)

An eight-time All-Star ranking No. 3 on the franchise career scoring list, the Hall of Fame small forward was the best player – and Finals MVP – on the only championship team in the first 53 years of its Bay Area existence.

2-Kevin Durant (2016-19)

Four-time scoring champ’s decision as a free agent to choose the Warriors was seismic most notably for telling the rest of the league that the franchise is determined to certify its membership in NBA royalty. The back-to-back Finals MVP awards were nice.

1-Stephen Curry (2009-current)

Golden State’s career scoring leader, the only unanimous MVP in NBA history and the turbocharged engine of a team that made five consecutive NBA Finals, winning three championships. No pro athlete in Bay Area history has done more for a franchise.

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