During the 2015-16 NBA Season, the Golden State Warriors won a record 73 games during the regular season only to be denied the title of Greatest Team Of All Time by an unwarranted suspension in the Finals. Golden State used the mantra “strength in numbers.”
It was a testament to their depth and Steve Kerr’s willingness to use all the players available to him on a regular basis in order to dominate the NBA’s Western Conference. It’s a motto that would also apply to the All-Time Warriors team. And to drive that point home, here’s a little spoiler: There’s a player whom many TV pundits like to discuss as one of the All-Time Greats of the game that hasn’t made the cut here.
The Warriors are in the midst of what many could rightfully consider a dynasty as they are about to begin their 6th NBA Finals in eight seasons against the Boston Celtics. But the Warriors have a very deep history, from the “We Believe” team of the mid-2000s to Run TMC and all the way back to the start of the BAOA when the team was in Philadelphia. So with all that in mind, let’s get to the Golden State Warriors All-Time Starting Lineup.
The All-Time Golden State Warriors Starting 5
Point Guard: Stephen Curry
There’s no better way to start putting together this squad than with the greatest shooter to ever play the game of basketball.
What Stephen Curry lacks in physical size, he makes up for with the most impressive long-range shot and above-average handles. Many have claimed Curry is a “human cheat code” and it’s hard to argue with them. Much like Magic Johnson and the Showtime Lakers, Steph completely changed the game of basketball forever. There’s not a shot on the court he could take and have it be considered a bad shot. There are no Trae Youngs without Wardell Stephen Curry II and his ability to pull up from the tunnel and covert with regularity. Not only that, but he has a career-scoring efficiency higher than most big men, which is just insane.
Just this season Steph broke Ray Allen’s record for three-pointers made. He did this in seven seasons less than Allen had in his career and Steph is showing no signs of slowing down. A two-time NBA MVP, two-time scoring champion, three-time Champion, one-time league steals leader and reigning All-Star Game MVP, Steph Curry isn’t just gunning for best shooter of best scorer of all time, he’s going for the best player to ever touch the court. Honestly, the only thing missing from his resume at this point is a Finals MVP, though it should be recognized his unselfishness is likely the only reason he doesn’t have one yet.
Shooting Guard: Klay Thompson
The other half of the Splash Brothers, Klay Thomspon would be the best shooter on any other team in the NBA. Instead, he plays with Steph and the two make for a seemingly unstoppable shooting monster. But your best defender on Curry? He’ll rack up assists getting the ball to Thompson. Largely overshadowed by his backcourt mate at times, Klay doesn’t necessarily have the accolades of Steph, but he has the numbers and he has something Steph doesn’t: lockdown defense.
Klay’s ability to defend all five positions at an elite level is one of the main reasons the Death Lineup worked so well. In my opinion, Thompson was the biggest snub from the NBA 75th Anniversary Team. I would take Klay over James Harden 10 times out of 10. Something else to think about: the two years in the last eight where the Warriors have failed to make the Finals, hell the playoffs entirely, were the two years Klay Thomspon was out injured. Where there is one Splash Brother, there must be the other.
Small Forward: Rick Barry
Yes, Rick Barry. No, not Kevin Durant. Yes, I’m sure.
Rick Barry is the only player to ever lead the NBA, NCAA and ABA in scoring. He scored over 18,000 points in the NBA alone, and the vast majority of them came for the Warriors. A lot of them also came from the free-throw line, where he shot a whopping 89.3 percent with a granny-shot style. Barry wasn’t ESPN highlight reel material, but he was still one of the best to every play the game.
Barry was an NBA All-Star every season he was with the Warriors and was the key reason Golden State won the NBA Championship in 1975, taking home Finals MVP for his efforts. In the 1967 Finals, Barry averaged 40.8 points per game, a record that stood for 25 years until a player by the name of Michael Jordan broke it. It still stands as the second-highest mark.
But I feel I also have to justify this space not going to Kevin Durant, especially due to recency bias. Yes, Durant is an ELITE player. In fact, Durant currently sits one place higher than Barry on the all-time points leader list, and Durant is still playing. BUT KD only played for the Warriors for three years. Yes, they made the Finals all three of those years, and yes KD was the Finals MVP for two of those, but as already stated, that’s down almost as much to Steph’s unselfishness as it is KD’s talent.
And take a look at the great success Andrew Wiggins is having this season, and how good Harrison Barnes was prior to KD. Steph, Klay and the Warriors system turns wing players into the best versions of themselves. The Warriors were a championship team, perhaps the greatest ever before KD joined. And they’re back in the Finals without him while he got swept out of the first round with the Brooklyn Nets. KD is an all-time talent and will certainly be on the bench for this squad, but as far as Warriors history goes, he’s nowhere near The Miami Greyhound.
Power Forward: Draymond Green
There is no player more underrated in the NBA than Draymond Green, but the Warriors knew that when they took him in the second round of the 2012 NBA Draft, after taking Harrison Barnes in the first. The Warriors work as they do currently because of Green. He is an elite ball handler for a big man, even if he is rather small for a big. The Steph/Green pick and roll is a thing other teams in the NBA have been trying to solve for years with little success. And in my opinion, he’s easily the greatest defender of his generation.
But more than that, it’s his energy and demeanor that fuels the Warriors and would be welcomed on any team. (Honestly, he never lost his Spartan Dawg mentality and I may be a bit biased towards that.) Yes, he is constantly getting in situations he shouldn’t be in. But his team feeds off that. And if he wouldn’t have been wrongfully suspended for Game 5 of the 2016 Finals, then that team WOULD be the Greatest Team of All Time and you cannot convince me otherwise.
Center: Wilt Chamberlain
Just think about the scoring prowess of this team with Wilt The Stilt at Center, collective rebounds on both sides of the ball. The only player to (allegedly) score 100 points in a game, he did that for the (then Philadelphia) Warriors. Wilt is largely considered one of the greatest centers and NBA players of all time. He’s on many a fan and pundit’s Mt. Rushmore. And the Wilt Chamberlain that played for the San Francisco Warriors was the best version of Wilt. Seriously, with Wilt at center, this team is entirely unguardable.
Off the Bench
- Mitch Richmond
- Nate Thurmond