Golden State Warriors Franchise Five

Every summer, there is a lull in basketball news between free agency and the beginning of training camps throughout the league. In the dog days of the NBA summer, LWOS is bringing you the best five players to play for every NBA franchise in our Franchise Five series. The #LWOSFranchiseFive gives props to the best to ever lace up for each NBA team. Agree or disagree? Let us know at @LastWordHoops with the hash tag #LWOSFranchiseFive.

The Golden State Warriors Franchise Five

The Golden State Warriors are coming off of an NBA championship, the first since 1975. Back then, the franchise was wildly successful and featured some of the greatest players in NBA history. However for years, the Warriors ranged from mediocre, to just plain awful. Despite that, their franchise has showcased many great players, and here are the best five:

Wilt Chamberlain: It goes without saying that Wilt Chamberlain is the greatest Warrior of all-time. Chamberlain played for the Warriors during their early days in Philadelphia before their move to San Francisco in 1962. In five-plus seasons as a Warrior, The Big Dipper was an all-star each season, won the MVP Award, and led the league in scoring each season, with an untouchable 50.4 points per game in 1961-62. His career averages with the Warriors are 41.5 points and 25.1 rebounds per game. Although his postseason success and three more MVP awards came after he was traded, Chamberlain had his number 13 retired and is still the measuring stick for any Warriors player.

Paul Arizin: A teammate of Chamberlain’s on the Philadelphia Warriors, Arizin was one of the best players in the NBA throughout the 50’s and early 60’s, playing ten seasons in the NBA and making the all-star team each season. He won a championship with the 1956 Warriors and put up high scoring numbers for his era. Arizin finished with a career scoring average of 22.8 points per game, led the NBA in scoring twice, and finished his career as the third highest scorer in NBA history. His career totals would be higher if not for two seasons missed in the middle of his prime due to military service. A three-time All-NBA first team member, Arizin retired from the NBA instead of moving with the Warriors to San Francisco. One of the 50 greatest players in NBA history, Arizin was the original great Warrior.

Rick Barry: Barry played eight seasons as a Warrior in the NBA, with a five year hiatus beginning in 1967 that saw Barry leave the NBA after being an all-star and Rookie of the Year to play in the ABA. Once Barry returned to the Warriors for the 1972-73 season, he returned to being one of the best players in the NBA. Barry was an all-star every season he played for the Warriors, and once led the NBA in scoring. He led the Warriors to the NBA title in 1975 and won Finals MVP honors. Barry averaged 25.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game as a Warrior and was one of the greatest scorers in NBA history during his prime. Barry was elected to the Hall of Fame and his number 24 was retired by the Warriors. Still known for his underhand free throw technique, Barry was one of the best free throw shooters in league history, leading the NBA seven times and finishing with a career percentage of 89%. Despite being known for his hot attitude, Barry will always be remembered as one of the greatest NBA players and Warriors of all-time.

Nate Thurmond: A Warrior for 11 seasons, Thurmond was one of the best rebounded and defenders in the NBA. Block were not recorded as official stats until his age-32 season, his final all-star campaign, during which he averaged 2.9 blocks per game. Thurmond was a seven time all-star as a Warrior and routinely averaged over 20 points and 15 rebounds per game, and had a 20-20 season in 1967-68. His career averaged of 15 points and 15 rebounds per game represent his knack for double-doubles. A five-time All-Defensive Team selection, Thurmond would have likely been among the career leaders in blocked shots if the stat were tracked his entire career. Although he was not a part of the 1975 Warriors championship team, Thurmond had a Hall of Fame career as a Warrior, and his number 42 is retired by the franchise.

Chris Mullin: The most recent Warrior to make their franchise five, Mullin thrived during his Warriors career in the early 1990’s as part of “Run TMC”. Mullin spent 13 seasons in Golden State, and was an all-star five consecutive seasons from 1989 through to 1993. A great scorer and outstanding three point shooter, Mullin thrived under coach Don Nelson during the “Run TMC” era, but the Warriors were ultimately an unsuccessful team in terms of playoff success under Mullin’s lead. Mullin had his number 17 retired by Golden State and he enjoyed a successful team USA run as a member of the “Dream Team” in 1992.

Honorable mention goes out to Stephen Curry, Mitch Richmond, Tim Hardaway, Robert Parish, and others.