As one of the three remaining inaugural teams from the Basketball Association of America, the Golden State Warriors have been making history for more than 50 years.
Noteworthy memories from yesteryear include winning the first title in league history, drafting Wilt Chamberlain and Rick Barry, and returning to prominence with the Run TMC (Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, Chris Mullin) teams of the early 1990's
After some time in the proverbial NBA wilderness in the 2000's, the Warriors are one of the ‘it’ teams today, with the superstar trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green and several championship wins in their recent history. With those three leading the way, the Warriors appeared in five consecutive NBA Finals and won three titles from 20115-2019.
Three titles in four years
Golden State showed signs of improvement during the 2013-14 season under the leadership of head coach Mark Jackson, but he was fired after the season. The Warriors hired Steve Kerr to replace him, and they instantly became one of the top teams in the league, improving their offense tremendously.
The Warriors went 67-15 in Kerr’s first season and beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. The following season, they won their first 24 games and rolled to a 73-9 record - the best in league history. Cleveland got revenge in the NBA Finals that season, though. The Cavaliers even rallied from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Warriors in an all-time great series.
Golden State added to its stockpile of talent after that loss by signing free agent Kevin Durant. Over the next two playoff runs, the Warriors went 32-8, and Durant won two Finals MVP awards.
The Warriors may have secured a three-peat in 2019, but a series of injuries throughout the playoffs limited them against the Toronto Raptors in the NBA Finals. The injuries included Thompson’s torn ACL and Durants' ruptured Achilles tendon in the Finals.
After losing Durant in free agency to the Brooklyn Nets, Thompson missed the season due to his ACL tear, and in October, Curry suffered a broken hand and missed the rest of the season. This was already set to be a much tougher year than the previous ones, and became impossible following the Curry injury.
Fielding more of a G-League team for the rest of the season, the Warriors spiraled to a league-worst record of 15-50. The fortunate thing about that is they will have the No. 2 overall pick in the NBA Draft, which they are likely to trade in order to get another proven player as they try to get right back to their championship-winning ways in 2021. They would like to take advantage of the prime years of Curry, Thompson and Green, and prove that they can win without KD.
Wilt Chamberlain trade
The Warriors drafted and signed Wilt Chamberlain in 1959, and he instantly became one of the most dominant forces in the league. In 1962, he scored 100 points in a single game. In five-plus seasons with the Warriors, he averaged an astounding 41.5 points and 25.1 rebounds per game. The Warriors went to the 1964 NBA Finals with Chamberlain leading the way, but the franchise was still strapped for cash.
The following season, they traded Chamberlain to the Philadelphia 76ers for three players and $150,000. Golden State won 17 games the following season and drafted Rick Barry in the first round. Barry and Nate Thurmond led the Warriors back to the NBA Finals in 1967, where they lost to the Chamberlain-led 76ers.
Kerr’s job with the Warriors is his first as a head coach. Following a playing career that included five NBA championships, he became an executive with the Phoenix Suns from 2004-10.
Bob Myers was hired as the Warriors’ assistant general manager in April 2011 and was promoted to the top spot one year later. He is the architect of the current dynasty roaster and has been named NBA Executive of the Year in 2015 and 2017.
The majority owner is Joe Lacob, a partner at the Venture capital investing firm Kleiner Perkins.
Wilt Chamberlain is one of the most dominant players in league history. He won the NBA scoring title every season he played for the Warriors and averaged at least 20 points and 20 rebounds each season. His 100-point game will be the mark all players strive to reach for decades to come.
It’s hard to imagine any player approaching the contributions of Chamberlain, but Rick Barry might have had a chance if he had not spent four years playing in the American Basketball Association instead of the NBA. He was drafted by the Warriors in 1965 and played two seasons with them. Unhappy with his pay, however, he left the team to play for the Oakland Oaks of the ABA. He eventually came back to the Warriors in 1972. He was an All-Star in all eight seasons he played for the Warriors and had averages of 25.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.3 steals.
In addition to current and recent players Curry (a two-time league MVP), Durant and Thompson, other top Warriors players include Chris Mullin, Nate Thurmond and Tim Hardaway.