29-29 • 9th in WESTERN CONFERENCE
The Golden State Warriors are an American professional basketball team that plays in the Pacific Division of the National Basketball Association's Western Conference. The San Francisco, California-based team, also known as "The Dubs", was established back in 1946 as the Philadelphia Warriors. Currently, they play their home games in the Chase Center.
The Warriors have won six championships in their history. They won their first title back in 1947 (in the BAA) in what was their debut campaign. The Warriors lifted the title again in 1956 and again in 1975. The franchise returned to glory in the 2010s as they went on a dynastic run that resulted in three titles in the span of four years and five NBA Finals appearances in a row.
Stephen Curry currently serves as the Dubs' cornerstone superstar and he is widely regarded as the greatest shooter of all time. Wilt Chamberlain also spent several years as a Warrior and he too is considered a legend of the sport. The same can be said for all-time Warrior greats such as Rick Barry, Paul Arizin, and Nate Thurmond.
After being perennial title contenders for several years that resulted in three championships, the Warriors fell off a cliff last season. Kevin Durant made his way to the Brooklyn Nets, while both Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry were virtually out for the entire campaign due to injury. This ultimately led to Golden State ending the 2019-20 season with the worst record in the NBA.
The silver lining to their tumultuous 2019-20 campaign is the fact they were able to get their hands on James Wiseman as the second overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft. The 7-foot big man has already shown the potential to be the Warriors' superstar of the future.
The Warriors suffered arguably the biggest blow of the offseason when they learned that Klay Thompson is set for another year on the sidelines after injuring his right Achilles tendon. It was a season-ending injury, and one that had a significant implication on Golden State's potential challenge for the 2021 title.
It's easy to count out the Dubs at this point, but there remains to be one compelling reason why this team will always be a title contender: Stephen Curry. Now that he has recovered from a hand injury that kept him out for the majority of the previous season, the former back-to-back MVP winner should return to old form. He is still the best shooter in the entire NBA -- maybe of all time -- and so long as he's healthy, the Warriors will undoubtedly be contenders.
Let's also not forget that Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins, Kelly Oubre Jr., and newly-drafted James Wiseman are all also in the mix for the Warriors. Losing Klay was a terrible blow, but that cannot be the be-all and end-all for this side.
Losing Klay Thompson to a season-ending Achilles injury before the season started is an undeniably horrific blow for the Warriors. It instantly impacts their title hopes in an adverse manner, and at this point, one cannot help but question how the All-Star two-guard is going to look once he returns from a two-season injury spell on the sidelines.
This does provide an opportunity for Andrew Wiggins. After arriving in Golden State in February of last year as part of the D'Angelo Russell deal, Wiggins was only able to play in 12 games for the Warriors before the season came to an abrupt end. During that span, the 25-year-old averaged 19.4 points (on a career-best 45.7 percent shooting), 4.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.4 blocks in 33.6 minutes per game. He also drained 1.7 triples per game on a 33.9-percent clip.
Wiggins is no Klay Thompson, but he does have what it takes to emerge as the Warriors' unbridled second option on offense behind Stephen Curry. Wiggins has shown that he can thrive in coach Steve Kerr's system, and 2020-21 could be a breakout year for the former first overall pick.
With the Warriors possessing the second overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, rumors flew around about swapping out Andrew Wiggins and/or the No. 2 pick for a better supporting cast while the Warriors already have on their roster top stars in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. The top-three pick and Wiggins could have been spent on a different star or multiple high-end rotation players to complement the Splash Bros.
However, as recently as August 2020, Wiggins was reportedly viewed by the organization as a core member of the franchise alongside the All-Star backcourt and Draymond Green. And sure enough, the Warriors kept the pick and didn’t trade Wiggins.
Given that, perhaps Wiggins will stay in the Bay Area at least until the next trade deadline to see how he fits with the Warriors (he only appeared in 12 games in 2020 after being dealt).
The first way, of course, is to trade one or two of them. It's never fair to assume anybody is off limits in the NBA these days, but Steph Curry and Klay Thompson anchoring the guard spots seems like a lock. Wiggins, though, could be traded, as he makes $94 million over the next three years and $29.5 million just in 2020-21 (and no team or player options).
Provided that, maybe trading Wiggins is indeed the best course of action to regroup on the salary cap and divvy up compensation for multiple players helping round out the roster instead of rolling the dice with the inconsistent former No. 1 pick.
Five consecutive trips to the NBA Finals took their toll on the Warriors' stars during the 2019-20 season; Thompson was shelved with an injury suffered during the last Finals run and Curry had a freak hand fracture early in the season. Besides that, though, it's fair to assume that a near-year rest for the two stars should help them recuperate heading into 2020-21.
Further, these two specific injuries were not ones of repetition (like a player's back hurting them steadily throughout a season and playoff run), they were a single broken bone and a torn ACL—both requiring surgery, but not injuries borne out of lingering issues re-aggravated by continual use (missing the bubble helps rest, too).
Of course, Thompson tore his Achilles tendon ahead of the 2020-21 season, putting a real damper on their title hopes. However, there’s no reason to believe health will be a problem for Curry and the rest of the roster.
Stephen Curry. He's a two-time NBA MVP (once unanimous), six-time All-Star, scoring champion, six-time All-NBA selection, and could very well one day go down as the greatest perimeter shooter in league history.
At 32 years old, Curry is third on the all-time scoring leaderboard in franchise history—and could very well be No. 1 by midseason next year.
The three-time champion's only blemish is, oddly, never winning Finals MVP during the Warriors' run of five straight NBA Finals appearances. Nevertheless, Curry is the Warriors and against whom opponents scheme their defenses.
Forbes' annual NBA franchise valuations were released in Feb. 2021, the most recent credible data. The Warriors were valued at $4.7 billion—one of three teams over $4 billion along with the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers. Television and broadcasting deals configured over the last half decade skyrocketed the Warriors' value, along with a new arena in downtown San Francisco in Chase Center after Golden State moved from Oakland's Oracle Arena.
The Warriors moved across the Bay from Oakland's Oracle Arena, where they played just short of 50 years, back to San Francisco in 2019. Chase Center in Mission Bay, San Francisco, California, now hosts the six-time champs.
The Warriors were purchased by a group led by Peter Guber, a Hollywood producer, and Joe Lacob, a venture capitalist, in 2010 for approximately $450 million. Lacob, acting as majority owner, bought the franchise from Chris Cohan, who had owned the team since the mid-1990s. Before that, Cohan bought the team Jim Fitzgerald and Dan Finnane in 1985.
Steve Kerr was hired by Golden State in the summer of 2014 after spurning the New York Knicks, led by then-president and his former coach Phil Jackson, signing a five-year deal. The Warriors had fired head coach Mark Jackson after a first-round playoff exit in seven games against the Los Angeles Clippers.
During the 2019-20 season, Steve Kerr's bench consisted of former Cleveland Cavaliers and Lakers head coach Mike Brown, Jarron Collins (who spent a decade in the league as a player and joined the Warriors as a coach when Kerr was hired), Ron Adams, and Bruce Fraser. The player development coach was Chris DeMarco.
Brown has interviewed with multiple head-coaching vacancies in the offseason, though, so it's unclear whether he will stay on board or not.
Strictly by winning percentage and titles, Steve Kerr is the best coach; he has won three titles (and counting) and possesses the best win-loss record at 337-138 (.709) in the regular season and 77-28 (.733) in the playoffs.
Al Attles, who presided for 14 seasons including the majority of the 1970ss, won a the 1975 championship and possesses only the second over-.500 record as a head coach for the Warriors that stayed on for more than three years.
In third is Don Nelson, who spent 11 non-consecutive seasons in Golden State, including five postseason trips and that memorable "We Believe" season in 2006-07, which saw the Warriors take down the No. 1 seed Dallas Mavericks in the first round.
Honorary mentions go to George Senesky, who went three straight postseasons in three years with the club, winning the 1956 title, and Edward Gottlieb, a nine-year coach and the franchise's first, who led the team to the inaugural BAA (the NBA's predecessor) championship in 1946. Both titles occurred during the Philadelphia origin days.
If Stephen Curry is the team's best player and most distinguished one in the modern era, who are the other four getting nods? The first, and most obvious, has to be Wilt Chamberlain. The Hall of Fame center spent six seasons with the then-Philadelphia Warriors and later San Francisco dubbed team (before joining Philly's new NBA franchise) and was an all-time great. An All-Star every year, Chamberlain didn't win a chip with the Warriors but was once the most recognizable basketball star and led the league in scoring every season with the Warriors.
Rick Barry was an icon for the Bay Area Warriors, winning Rookie of the Year and a scoring title along with becoming an All-Star every year with Golden State. After an ABA hiatus, Barry returned and the Hall of Famer led the Warriors to their first championship win in California, earning the 1975 Finals MVP, too.
Forward Paul Arizin deserves a spot, too. Arizin spent his entire 10-year NBA career with the Warriors—an All-Star every season—and lost two years due to serving in the Marines during conflict in Korea. Arizin won the 1956 Finals for the then-Philadelphia franchise.
Lastly is Nate Thurmond, the third overall pick out of Bowling Green in 1963 who became Chamberlain's replacement at center within the next two years. Thurmond was a seven-time All-Star who, unfortunately, didn't win a championship with the team in '75 as he was traded in the offseason prior to that run. Thurmond is a Hall of Famer and played the second-most games in franchise history.
Of course we have to include the top five Warriors players of all time previously listed: Stephen Curry, Wilt Chamberlain, Rick Barry, Paul Arizin, and Nate Thurmond. The man who has played the most games in Warriors history, though, is Chris Mullin. The 6-foot-6 swingman from St. John's was Golden State's consolation prize during that inaugural 1985 draft lottery and became a five-time All-Star and Hall of Famer.
Another player not mentioned whose jersey is retired by the team is Tom Meschery, Chamberlain's frontcourt partner and Russian-American one-time All-Star. His No. 14 was retired in 1967.
Before coaching them, Al Attles spent 11 seasons as Golden State's point guard; he played the fifth-most games for the team before serving as head coach.
Klay Thompson deserves a mention as he's Curry's co-star and three-time champion along with scoring the eighth-most points and counting in club history.