Golden State Warriors Franchise All-Time Starting Five

By Steven Resnick

The Golden State Warriors have had great players throughout their franchise history. Names such as Wilt ChamberlainPaul ArizinRick Barry, Nate ThurmondTim Hardaway and Chris Mullin all come to mind. So, when creating the all-time starting lineup in franchise history it would seem an easy task to carry out and yet that isn’t the case.

What makes it difficult is that a number of those all-time great players played at the same spot which are point guard, small forward and center. At shooting guard and power forward there’s a lack of players and when names do pop up its Mitch Richmond a shooting guard who played three seasons with the team and Chris Webber a power forward who played only a year before being traded because he clashed with coach Don Nelson before returning which ended up being his last season of his career.

Starting with the point guard position that battle is between Guy Rodgers and Hardaway. Rodgers played with the team from 1958-1959 to 1965-1966 and he averaged 12.8 points per game, 8.3 assists and 5.1 rebounds in his time with the franchise. Selected to three All-Star games and led the NBA in assists once and ranked second six times.

Ranks first in Warriors history with 4,855 assists, second in assists per game and sixth in minutes played.

Hardaway played from 1989-1990 and got traded after 58 games to the Miami Heat during the 1995-1996 season. He missed the entire 1993-1994 season due to a knee injury and for his career averaged 19.8 points, 9.3 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1.95 steals. Ranked third in the league in assists twice, fifth and seventh.

Selected to three to All-Star games and ranks first in Warriors history in assists per game, second in assists, three-point field goals made and attempted, third in steals per game and total steals, ninth in minutes per game and 10th in field goals made.

Who would get the starting nod between the two? The answer is Hardaway.

At small forward there’s even more competition with Mullin, Arizin and Barry vying for the starting spot.

Mullin was with the Warriors from 1985-1986 to 1996-1997 and had a second stint to finish out his career in 2000-2001.  He joined Chamberlain as the only other player in the team’s history to average at least 25 points per game in five consecutive seasons. For his career he averaged 20.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.9 assists on 51.3 percent shooting, 36.4 percent from three-point range and 86.2 percent from the free throw line.

He led the league in minutes played twice and minutes per game, games three times and came in second in three-point percentage in 1992-1993. Also ranked third in scoring once and fourth twice.

In franchise history he ranks first in games played and steals, second in minutes played, third in field goals and three-point field goals, fourth in points, field goal attempts, three point field goal attempts, defensive rebounds and assists, fifth in free throws made and free throw percentage, sixth in free throws attempted, eighth in blocks, ninth in offensive rebounds, and 10th in field goal percentage and steals per game.

For Arizin he played his entire career with the Warriors. Career averages are 22.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists on 42.1 percent shooting and 81 percent from the free throw line. Selected to 10 All-Star games and in 1951-1952 named the All-Star game MVP and part of the championship team in 1956.

Franchise ranks include first in free throws made and free throws attempted, third in points, minutes played and field goal attempts, fourth in points per game, games played and field goals made, fifth in total rebounds and minutes per game.

As for Barry he had two stints with the franchise one that went from 1965-1966 to 1966-1967 and from 1972-1973 to 1977-1978. He averaged in those seasons 25.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, 5.1 assists, on 45 percent shooting and 89.6 percent from the free throw line.

Got selected to eight All-Star games and played in seven and played on the championship winning team in 1975. He won a All-Star game MVP, the 1965-1966 Rookie of the Year Award and Finals MVP.

In franchise history he ranks first in field goal attempts and steals per game, second in points, points per game, field goals made and steals, free throws made and free throw percentage, third in assists, fourth in minutes played, fifth in free throw attempts, sixth in games played and minutes per game, seventh in total rebounds and 10th in defensive rebounds.

All three players are in the hall of fame, which is why it’s such a difficult decision and the slight edge goes to Barry.

At center is Chamberlain. He played from 1959-1960 until he got traded to the Philadelphia 76ers during the 1964-1965 season. He averaged 41.5 points, 25.1 rebounds, 3 assists, on 50.5 percent shooting and 55.5 percent from the free throw line with the Warriors.

During his tenure he went to four All-Star games, won an All-Star MVP in 1959-1960 and won the MVP award that year as well.

Though he only played a short amount of time with the franchise he ranks first in points, points per game, rebounds per game, field goals made and minutes per game, second in total rebounds, field goals attempted and free throws attempted, fourth in free throws made and seventh in minutes played.

It’s time for the difficult part coming up with the two other starters. For the shooting guard list there were three names in consideration Jeff MullinsLatrell Sprewell  and Monta Ellis.

The edge went to Ellis. He played for the Warriors from 2005-2006 till he got traded during the 2011-2012 season to the Milwaukee Bucks. He averaged 19.6 points, 4.4 assists, 3.7 rebounds on 46.5 percent shooting, 33 percent on threes and 77.4 percent from the free throw line.

He won the Most Improved Player Award in 2006-2007 and in 2007-2008 he had the best season in franchise history at the shooting guard position. In 81 games including 72 starts he averaged 20.2 points, 5 rebounds, 3.9 assists on 53.1 percent shooting and shot 76.7 percent from the free throw line.

Though never selected to an All-Star team though there were at least three seasons where he had the numbers. What makes him stand out is his efficiency and as his game matured he became a better passer and defender. Mullins had similar numbers to Ellis just did not have the consistency in scoring.

Ellis ranks in team history sixth in three-point field goal attempts and steals and ninth in three-point field goals made.

Defensively Sprewell excelled, yet  because of his inefficiency on offense it cost him the starting spot as he had only one season shooting 45 percent.

After reviewing the list of the top rebound numbers in franchise history the choices at power forward became Larry SmithClyde Lee and Joe Graboski.

Graboski got the role because he scored on a consistent basis. He played for the Warriors from 1953-1954 to 1960-1961 before being traded to the St. Louis Hawks. During his time with the franchise averaged  12.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2 assists.

Also, he was a member of the 1956 championship team and led the league in games played in three consecutive seasons. Ranks eighth in franchise history in total rebounds.

That means the starting lineup is Hardaway at point guard, Ellis at shooting guard, Barry at small forward, Graboski at power forward and Chamberlain at center.

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