This article was originally published on Let’s Go Warriors.
In the past decade, the Golden State Warriors have made some questionable draft selections including Patrick O’Bryant, Ike Diogu, Andris Biedrins, and Marco Belinelli. Despite these poor draft picks, the Warriors, as a franchise, have a rich history and have drafted some extremely talented players.
In order to determine the top 5 draft picks in Warriors history, there are some factors that have to be considered. This is not a ranking of which player was better but more of a ranking of how good the actual pick was. The following picks were ranked and determined based on how long the player was a Warrior, what the player accomplished as a Warrior, and what pick the player was drafted with.
With that being said, here are the top 5 draft picks by the Warriors:
Honorable Mentions: Tim Hardaway and Mitch Richmond
5. Stephen Curry
Stephen Curry was drafted with the seventh overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. He is entering his fifth season in the NBA and is, arguably, one of the top five point guards in the league right now. After averaging 22.9 points and 6.9 assists last season, he should’ve been named an All-Star.
Although Curry hasn’t been selected as an All-Star yet, he has accomplished a lot in his four-year career. He was a First Team All-Rookie selection. He won the Taco Bell Skills Challenge in 2011. He had a 54-point game. He made the most three-point field goals (272) in a single season in NBA history.
Over his career, Curry has been the main reason why the Warriors have transformed from the laughing stock of the Western Conference into a legitimate title contender this season. Curry is a superstar, and he will accomplish much more for the Warriors in the coming years. Based on Curry’s career so far and the Warriors’ poor track record with drafting in recent history, this draft pick earned top five honors.
4. Wilt Chamberlain
The Philadelphia Warriors drafted Wilt Chamberlain as a “territorial pick” in 1959. In his rookie season, he averaged 37.6 points and 27.0 rebounds and won the Rookie of the Year Award, All-Star Game Most Valuable Player, and NBA Most Valuable Player. In his six seasons with the Warriors, he averaged over 30 points and 20 rebounds. In the 1961-1962 season, he averaged 50.4 points and 25.7 rebounds.
The Warriors didn’t see much success when Chamberlain was on the team though. He was criticized fiercely for averaging so many points and rebounds, yet not converting his personal success into the team’s success.
Although Chamberlain is one of the greatest players in NBA history, he ranks at number four, in terms of Warriors’ draft picks, because he only played six seasons with the Warriors and the lack of team success during that time.
3. Chris Mullin
The Golden State Warriors selected Chris Mullin with the seventh overall pick in the 1985 NBA Draft. He played a total of 13 seasons with the Warriors in two stints. He was a five-time NBA All-Star and was named to the All-NBA First Team in 1992. From 1988-1993, Mullin averaged more than 25 points and five rebounds, and the Warriors made five consecutive playoff appearances.
Mullin was known for this shooting, passing, decision-making, and his constant effort on the court. He wasn’t known for his speed, so he had to out-smart his opponent and keep them off balance using fakes, stutter steps, etc. Of course, Mullin, Hardaway, and Richmond formed the “Run TMC” trio for the Warriors, which featured high-scoring, fast-paced play.
Mullin’s 13 total seasons as a Warrior earns him the number three spot.
2. Nate Thurmond
The San Francisco Warriors drafted Nate Thurmond with the third overall pick in the 1963 NBA Draft. Thurmond played a total of 11 seasons with the Warriors. He was a seven-time NBA All-Star and a two-time NBA All-Defensive First Team selection. He’s also the first player in NBA history to record a quadruple-double.
Thurmond played alongside and backed up Wilt Chamberlain during the beginning of his career. When Chamberlain was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, Thurmond became the starting center and proved to be exactly what Chamberlain wasn’t for the Warriors.
Thurmond was one of the greatest rebounders and shot blockers in NBA history. Although Thurmond was one of the most dominant centers to play the game, he wasn’t able to bring the Warriors a title.
1. Rick Barry
The San Francisco Warriors drafted Rick Barry with the second overall pick in 1965. Barry played for eight seasons with the Warriors in two different stints. He won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award in 1966. He’s also an eight-time NBA All-Star, five-time All-NBA First Team selection, and was the NBA All-Star Game MVP in 1967.
Barry was known for his pinpoint three-point shooting, his basketball IQ, his excellent execution on defense, and his accurate, yet strange, free-throw shooting. Barry is regarded as one of the best small forwards to ever play in the NBA.
He helped bring the Warriors their first and only NBA championship, so far, in 1975, and he was named the NBA Finals MVP. Since he is the only player on this list to bring the Warriors a championship, he deserves to be named the best draft pick in Warriors’ history.