- CLUTCH Summary: The Golden State Warriors, thanks to guys like Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, had one of the best teams in the history of the NBA.
- Before players like Stephen Curry were hitting their peak, it was talents such as David Lee who helped to build the franchise to where it inevitably ended up.
- The Golden State Warriors have shown, consistently, they’re able to make the right calls in free agency.
The current era Golden State Warriors will unquestionably go down in history as one of the best teams in the history of the league. They reached the NBA Finals five straight years, winning three championships in the process.
What makes this narrative even more amazing is the fact that this dynasty was built from the ground up. Rome was not built in a day, and this was certainly the case for the Golden State empire. A lot of credit has to be given for team owner Joe Lacob and general manager Bob Myers, who spearheaded the Warriors’ rise to glory. They had a vision and they executed it to perfection.
It was certainly not an easy road, but the organization took a surgically methodical approach. Their triumph can be greatly attributed to their unmatched success rate during the draft, as the nucleus of Stephen Curry (2009, seventh pick), Klay Thompson (2012, 11th pick), and Draymond Green (2012, 35th pick) are all homegrown.
However, the Warriors also made some pretty impressive additions via free agency. They signed a variety of guys that would ultimately contribute to their end goal of bringing back the trophy to the Bay Area. In fact, it wasn’t only in this era that the Dubs had some significant free agent signings, and we were sure to include a couple of names that made an equally important impact on the Warriors at the time of their arrival.
Andre Iguodala, David Lee
Both Iguodala and Lee were pivotal building blocks in the dynasty. However, both were also acquired via sign-and-trade, so technically, they were not free agent signings. Nonetheless, they still joined the Warriors at the end of their respective contracts with their former teams (Iguodala with the Denver Nuggets and Lee with the New York Knicks), and given how huge they were for Golden State, we just had to squeeze them onto our list.
Lee spent five seasons with the Warriors and was part of the team’s first championship in the 2014-15 season. The now-retired 6-foot-9 big man averaged 16.7 points (on 51.3 percent shooting), 9.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.4 blocks during his stint with Golden State. Lee was also selected as an All-Star during the 2012-13 season.
For his part, Iguodala was a crucial piece in all three title runs before he finally parted ways with the team just this summer. The 35-year-old was awarded as the 2015 Finals MVP after leading his side to a series win against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Back when the Warriors were still a lottery-bound team year in and year out, they somehow enticed Maggette to sign with them in 2008. The 6-foot-6 forward did little to turn the Warriors’ fate, but he absolutely balled while with the Dubs, averaging 19.3 points (on 49.3 percent shooting), 5.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 0.8 steals in two seasons with Golden State.
What makes this an important signing for the Warriors is the fact that they were able to attract a free agent that was in his prime. Nonetheless, they decided to pull the plug on Maggette two years later, shipping him off to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Another signing outside of the current Warriors era is Derek Fisher, who signed with Golden State as a free agent in 2004. The 6-foot-1 guard was part of the Los Angeles Lakers’ celebrated three-peat run between 2000 and 2002, and he joined the Warriors as a bona fide winner.
While Fisher’s stint with the Warriors only lasted two seasons, it can not be denied that the tenacity he brought to the team had a tremendous impact on the whole organization.
This really does not need any explanation. Durant is a future Hall of Famer and will be remembered as one of the greatest to have played the sport. The 10-time All-Star starred for three seasons with the Warriors, leading the team to two NBA titles in the process. He was awarded as the Finals MVP on back-to-back seasons, and he boasts averages of 25.8 points (on 52.4 percent from the floor), 7.1 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 0.8 steals, and 1.5 blocks in three memorable years with Golden State.
As they say, all good things must come to an end, and this was the case for Durant and the Warriors this summer. Nevertheless, not a single person can fault the 30-year-old for not giving everything he had while dawning Golden State’s colors.
While Thompson was widely expected to re-sign with the Warriors this offseason, we cannot and should not undermine how important this was for Golden State and the future of the franchise.
The season ended terribly for the Warriors with Durant and Thompson’s severe injuries, and many believed that the dynasty had fallen. While the team still left has a lot to prove, Thompson’s new deal — a whopping $190 million max contract which will keep him in the Bay Area for the next five years — is a clear indication that the golden years are still in full swing, with the Splash Brothers primed to terrorize the NBA for years to come.