Fellow Bay Area Blogger and friend of Trapped in Golden State Elijah Abramson from BasesAndBaskets.com has agreed to be an occasional contributor to this site. He is an established writer whose work is also featured on the Warriors page at bleacherreport.com where today's article is also published. We want to thank Elijah for being a Trapped in Golden State reader and contributor!
Top ten Warriors of the last ten years
By Elijah Abramson
Warriors fans don’t need to be reminded of their sparing success since the new millennium.
Aside from the “We Believe” year in 2007 where the eighth-seeded Warriors beat the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks, there have been numerous miserable seasons as few as 17 wins to complement six seasons of less than 30 wins. But, as players legacies are often defined by playoff success, half of this list is composed of members from the We Believe team.
B/R featured columnist Dave Leonardis ranks the Warriors as the fourth-best fan base in basketball in between perennial contenders like the Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls and Dallas Mavericks.
Here is a list of the top-10 players to hit the court at Oracle Arena since 2000.
Note: Statistics include entire years when players also played for teams other than the Warriors (ie Monta Ellis playing for the Warriors and Bucks in 2011-12).
Erick Dampier • 12.3 PPG/12.0 RPG in 2003-04
Larry Hughes • 22.7 PPG/5.9 RPG/4.1 APG in 32 games for the Warriors in 2000
Gilbert Arenas • 15.6 PPG/4.0 RPG/5.3 APG in two seasons as a Warrior
Jamal Crawford • 19.7 PPG/3.3 RPG/4.4 APG in 2008-09
Dorell Wright • 16.4 PPG/5.3 RPG/3.0 APG in 2010-11, started all 82 games
10. Troy Murphy
Points per game: 11.2
Rebounds per game: 8.0
Assists per game: 1.3
Troy Murphy was never a particularly glamorous player but he got the job done. It always seemed like when the Warriors were in need of a three pointer to stop the bleeding , either Murphy or Mike Dunleavy was there to at least temporarily quell the onslaught.
Sadly, Murphy left in the middle of the 2007 season and was a member of the Indiana Pacers when the Warriors defeated the Mavericks in the playoffs.
9. Al Harrington
Points per game: 16.6
Rebounds per game: 6.0
Assists per game: 1.7
Al Harrington is one of those in-between players that created excellent mismatches. Harrington was kind of a hybrid like Dirk Nowitzki and Lamar Odom, possessing the ability to succeed at the power forward position and occasionally the small forward if necessary.
A pivotal part of the 2007 team that made a playoff run for the first time since 1975, Harrington was a fan favorite who was known for draining three pointers.
8. Corey Maggette
Points per game: 19.3
Rebounds per game: 5.4
Assists per game: 2.2
Although Maggette was not a Warrior for as long as Al Harrington or Troy Murphy, he did make the most of his time in Golden State. Coming off a season averaging 22 points per game with the Clippers, the Warriors were excited to get the former Duke star.
Even though he started only 19 of his 51 games played in 2008-09, Maggette managed to still average 18.6 points per game—adding a much needed spark of offensive production.
7. Stephen Curry
Points per game: 17.5
Rebounds per game: 4.1
Assists per game: 5.8
Although hopefully his best years are ahead of him, Stephen Curry has already put together a couple of solid years as a Warrior. From earning All-Rookie first team honors to nearly grabbing a quadruple-double on April 7, 2010 with 27 points, 14 assists, eight rebounds and seven steals, Curry gave the Warriors hope that their rebuilding effort was not futile.
Coming off an injury-shortened season, Curry will look to rebound and make his way up this list.
6. David Lee
Points per game: 18.1
Rebounds per game: 9.7
Assists per game: 3.0
Last season David Lee had nothing short of a spectacular season.
Even though he didn’t make the All-Star team, Lee put up the season worthy of such honors. 20 points and nearly 10 rebounds per game went largely unnoticed in a season that the Warriors ended up tanking in the hopes of getting a high draft pick.
His performance during the previous season (his first as a Warrior) wasn’t unimpressive, either. Lee’s 17 points and 10 rebounds per game were quite comparable to the following season.
The Warriors will definitely be more than happy if Lee can continue this type of production in 2012 and he may, like Curry, make his way up lists of top players to don the blue and gold.
5. Stephen Jackson
Points per game: 19.2
Rebounds per game: 4.3
Assists per game: 4.4
It’s too bad that Stephen Jackson’s name will be forever attached to the Malice at the Palace because he was (and is) an excellent player.
But, I do believe it wasn’t in the Warriors best interest for Jackson to make a return to Golden State in the Monta Ellis trade—thankfully he ended up being traded nearly immediately (for Richard Jefferson).
That’s certainly not to say he didn’t make a significant contribution to the Warriors—especially in the “We Believe” run. His 33-point show in Game 6 clinched the series against the Mavs for the Dubs.
In the words of teammate Baron Davis: “He is the heart and soul of this team. He is a big-game performer.”
4. Jason Richardson
Points per game: 18.3
Rebounds per game: 5.4
Assists per game: 3.2
Let’s be real, you don’t remember J-Rich for his on-court performances. Well maybe aside from his nasty jams in those five-on-five opportunities, Richardson is famous for his incredible dunk contest shows.
If you need to be refreshed on how—with Vince Carter, of course—Richardson made the dunk contest relevant to the NBA again, look no further than this video.
His consistent effort in the regular season was hidden behind that between-the-legs reverse dunk.
3. Baron Davis
Points per game: 20.0
Rebounds per game: 4.4
Assists per game: 8.1
Baron Davis was the Monta Ellis before Monta Ellis.
He would take shot after shot in transition but more often than not you had to keep your mouth shut because it went in.
Davis was another critical cog in the wheels that led the Warriors to their first playoff appearance in more than three decades.
If you get nothing else out of this list, check out the video. This dunk over Andrei Kirilenko never fails to give you chills, nostalgia and an uncanny desire to high-five the nearest Warrior fan.
2. Antawn Jamison
Points per game: 20.2
Rebounds per game: 7.5
Assists per game: 1.8
In the 2000-01 season, Antawn Jamison had his best season in Golden State, averaging 25 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. He played in all 82 regular season games for the Warriors from 2001 to 2003 and led the team in scoring each of those years.
Before being traded to Dallas, Jamison scored over 50 points per game on two separate occasions and provided something for Warriors fans to cheer for in years when they won as few as 17 games and never reached a .500 record.
1. Monta Ellis
Points per game: 19.5
Rebounds per game: 3.7
Assists per game: 4.5
Love him or hate him, there is no disputing his place atop this list.
Monta was a blur heading to the rim and a well above average, if not elite, scorer. He played some high-risk defense that often led to easy baskets for opposing offenses rather than transition baskets for the Warriors but Monta was the undeniable heart and soul for the Warriors from the conclusion of the 2007 season until being traded to the Bucks last season.
The peak of his time as a Warrior was back-to-back seasons as a 24 PPG scorer in 2009-10 and the following season.
Logging unparalleled 48-minute games across his tenure (which occasionally led to injuries), Monta was a warrior among Warriors.