History of the Golden State Warriors

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This article details the history of the Golden State Warriors. The history of the Warriors began in Philadelphia in 1946. In 1962, the franchise was relocated to San Francisco, California and became known as the San Francisco Warriors until 1971, when its name was changed to the current Golden State Warriors. Along with their inaugural championship win in the 1946–47 season, the Warriors have won five others in the team's history, including another in Philadelphia after the 1955–56 season, and four more as Golden State after the 1974–75, 2014–15, 2016–17, and 2017–18 seasons.

1946–1962: Philadelphia[edit]

1946–1959: Fulks and Arizin[edit]

Early Warrior stars Joe Fulks (#10) and Paul Arizin (#11) had three league scoring titles between them.

The Warriors were founded in Philadelphia in 1946 as the Philadelphia Warriors, a charter member of the Basketball Association of America. They were owned by Peter A. Tyrrell, who also owned the Philadelphia Rockets of the American Hockey League.[1] Tyrell hired Eddie Gottlieb, a longtime basketball promoter in the Philadelphia area, as coach and general manager.[2] He named the team after an early professional team in the city.

Led by early scoring sensation Joe Fulks, they won the championship in the league's inaugural 1946–47 season by defeating the Chicago Stags, four games to one. (The BAA became the National Basketball Association in 1949.) Among the individual Warrior highlights of the 1940s, Fulks set an NBA single-game scoring record of 63 points in 1949 that stood for more than 10 years. Gottlieb bought the team in 1951.

The Warriors won their other championship as a Philadelphia team in the 1955–56 season, defeating the Fort Wayne Pistons, four games to one. The stars of this era in the team's history were future Hall of Famers Paul Arizin, Tom Gola and Neil Johnston. Arizin and Johnston won five of the six NBA scoring titles between the 1951–52 and 1956–57 seasons, while Johnston led the NBA in rebounding and Andy Phillip led the NBA in assists during the 1950s.

1959–1965: The scoring machine – Wilt Chamberlain[edit]

Wilt Chamberlain set numerous NBA scoring and rebounding records as a Warrior.

In 1959, the team signed draft pick Wilt Chamberlain. Known as "Wilt the Stilt", Chamberlain quickly began shattering NBA scoring and rebounding records and changed the style of play forever. During each of his three seasons as a Philadelphia Warrior, Chamberlain led the NBA in both scoring and rebounding. In his first season, he was named NBA Rookie of the Year, the NBA All-Star Game MVP, and the league's regular season MVP after averaging 37.6 points per game and 27.0 rebounds per game. In his second season, he set still-standing records when he averaged 27.2 rebounds per game and grabbed 55 rebounds in a single game. On March 2, 1962, in a Warrior game played on a neutral court in Hershey, Pennsylvania, Chamberlain scored 100 points against the New York Knicks, a single-game record that the NBA ranks among its finest moments.[3] During that season, his third in the league, Chamberlain averaged 50.4 points per game and 25.7 rebounds per game.

1962–1971: San Francisco[edit]

In 1962, Franklin Mieuli purchased the majority shares of the team and relocated the franchise to the San Francisco Bay Area, renaming them the San Francisco Warriors, playing most of their home games at the Cow Palace in Daly City (the facility lies just south of the San Francisco border), though occasionally playing home games in nearby cities such as Oakland and San Jose. During their first season in San Francisco, Chamberlain again led the league in scoring at 44.8 points per game and rebounding at 24.3 rebounds per game.

Nate Thurmond averaged over 20 points per game during five different seasons and over 20 rebounds per game during two seasons while with the Warriors.

Prior to the 1963–64 season, the Warriors drafted big man Nate Thurmond to go along with Chamberlain. The Warriors won the 1963–64 Western Division title, but lost the NBA championship series to the Boston Celtics, four games to one.

In the 1964–65 season, the Warriors traded Wilt Chamberlain to the Philadelphia 76ers for Jose Bustillos, and they finished the season with only 17 wins. In the off-season, the Warriors drafted Rick Barry in the first round. Barry was named the 1965–66 NBA Rookie of the Year after averaging 25.7 points per game and 10.6 rebounds per game. With the opening of the Oakland Coliseum Arena in 1966, the Warriors began scheduling increasing numbers of home games at that venue.

In the 1966–67 season, Barry averaged a league leading 35.6 points per game and Nate Thurmond averaged 21.3 rebounds per game. Together, they helped to lead the Warriors to the best record in the Western Division and ultimately, the NBA finals. The team lost in six games to the team that replaced the Warriors in Philadelphia, the 76ers, despite Barry's output of 40.8 points per game performance during the NBA Finals.

Angered by management's failure to pay him certain incentive awards he felt he was due, Barry sat out the 1967–68 season, joining the Oakland Oaks of the rival American Basketball Association the following year.

The Warriors changed their name to the Golden State Warriors for the 1971–72 season, playing almost all home games in Oakland. Six "home" games were played in San Diego during that season but more significantly, none were played in San Francisco or Daly City. After changing their name from the San Francisco Warriors, the Warriors became (and remain) the only NBA team that does not include the name of their state or their city in their name (although "Golden State" is a well-known California nickname).

After four seasons in the ABA, Barry rejoined the Warriors in 1972.

1971–present: Oakland[edit]

1974–1976: Championship contention[edit]

Rick Barry shown in 1976, was named the NBA Finals MVP in 1975.

The 1974–75 team was coached by former Warrior Al Attles, and was led on the court by Rick Barry and Jamaal Wilkes. Wilkes was named the NBA Rookie of the Year, while Barry had a great all-around season averaging 30.6 points per game, leading the league in both free throw percentage and steals per game, and finishing sixth in the league in assists per game. In what many consider the biggest upset in the history of the NBA, the Warriors defeated the heavily favored Washington Bullets in a four-game sweep. So little was felt of the team's chances in the playoffs, even by their home fans, that the Coliseum Arena scheduled other events during the dates of the NBA playoffs. As a result, the Warriors did not play their championship series playoff games in Oakland; rather, they played at the Cow Palace in Daly City. Barry averaged 29.5 points per game during the Finals and was named the NBA Finals MVP.

At 59–23, the Warriors had the league's best record during the 1975–76 season. They were upset, however, by the 42–40 Phoenix Suns in seven games in the Western Conference Finals.

1976–1985: Collapse and resurgence[edit]

Because of the loss of key players such as Barry, Wilkes and Thurmond, to bad trades and retirements, the Warriors would struggle to put a competitive team on the court from 1978 to 1987 following their time as one of the NBA's dominant teams during the 1960s and through most of the early and mid 1970s. They would, however, through the draft acquire such standout players such as high-scoring forward Purvis Short (1978), former Georgetown Hoyas point guard Eric "Sleepy" Floyd (1982) (who would later become an All-Star before being traded to the Houston Rockets), and former Purdue University standout center Joe Barry Carroll (1980) whose once promising career would be short-circuited because of injury, as well as center Robert Parish (1976), whom they would trade to the Boston Celtics in 1980.

The departure of these players for various reasons symbolized the franchise's futility during this period, as head coach Al Attles would move up into the front office to become the team's general manager in 1980, and the team would go through several coaching changes. However, with Attles installed as general manager, they would finally manage to climb back to respectability by hiring former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach George Karl as head coach in 1986. They would also find a diamond in the rough, of sorts, that would change the direction of the franchise, drafting St. John's University standout sharpshooting small forward Chris Mullin in the 1985 NBA draft.

1985–1997: The Chris Mullin era[edit]

A ticket for a 1988–89 game between the Warriors and the Jazz

After a subpar stretch in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the team had a brief resurgence with coach Karl, culminating in a famous 1987 Western Conference Semifinal match against Magic Johnson's Lakers, which is still shown on TV in the NBA's Greatest Games series. In the game, the Warrior's NBA All-Star point guard Sleepy Floyd had an amazing performance in the second half, which is still the NBA playoff record for points scored in a quarter (29) and in a half (39). Floyd scored 12 consecutive field goals in the fourth quarter, finishing the game with 51 points, and leading the Warriors to victory. The "Sleepy Floyd Game" was a catalyst for increased interest in the NBA in the Bay Area, which was furthered by new coach Don Nelson who engineered another successful string of wins in the late 1980s to early 1990s with the high scoring trio of point guard Tim Hardaway, guard Mitch Richmond, and forward Chris Mullin (collectively known as "Run TMC" after the rap group Run-D.M.C.). However, coach Don Nelson wishing to get frontcourt players to complement his run-and-gun system, made a trade that broke up the Run TMC core by sending Richmond to the Sacramento Kings for Billy Owens. Nelson was brought to the team by Jim Fitzgerald, who owned the team between 1986 and 1995. The following year, 1993–94, with first-round draft pick and Rookie of the Year Chris Webber playing alongside Latrell Sprewell, the Warriors made the playoffs.

The season after that, however, saw a rift form between Webber, Sprewell and Nelson. All three soon left the team, and the organization went into a tailspin. 1994–95 was the first season under former team owner Chris Cohan. While the Oakland Coliseum underwent a complete renovation, the 1996–97 Golden State Warriors played their home games in the San Jose Arena in San Jose, California, struggling to a 30–52 finish.[4] Sprewell was suspended for the remainder of the 1997–98 season for choking head coach P. J. Carlesimo during a team practice in December 1997. He would not play until he was dealt in January 1999 to the New York Knicks for John Starks, Chris Mills and Terry Cummings.

1997–2009: Wilderness years[edit]

Garry St. Jean became the new Warriors general manager in July 1997; he and Dave Twardzik received much of the blame for the Warriors' struggles following the start of Chris Cohan's tenure, including Cohan himself.[5] St. Jean brought in several players, such as Terry Cummings, John Starks, and Mookie Blaylock, who were well past their primes. Twardzik drafted several flops, such as Todd Fuller and Steve Logan (who never played an NBA game). In the following draft, the team selected Adonal Foyle while Tracy McGrady was still available. St. Jean did, however, draft the future 2-time NBA slam dunk champion Jason Richardson (from Michigan State), who would become a key player on the team until the end of the 2006–07 season.

The team also saw a change of visual identity, with a new logo featuring a lightning bolt, that eventually brought in a superhero mascot, Thunder, who remained with the team until the emergence of the Oklahoma City Thunder forced its retirement.[6]

For a few years, with rising stars Jason Richardson, Antawn Jamison and guard Gilbert Arenas leading the team, the Warriors seemed like a team on the rise. In the end the young Warriors just did not have enough in the ultra-competitive Western Conference. After the 2002–03 season, Garry St. Jean's earlier mistakes of committing money to players like Danny Fortson, Adonal Foyle and Erick Dampier were painfully felt by Warriors fans when the team was unable to re-sign up-and-coming star Gilbert Arenas, despite Arenas's desire to stay in the Bay Area.

After spending two years in the Warriors front office as a special assistant, Chris Mullin succeeded Garry St. Jean and assumed the title of Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations. Among his first moves were the hiring of three former teammates to help run the organization: Mitch Richmond (special assistant), Mario Elie (assistant coach) and Rod Higgins (general manager). Mullin hoped to build the team around Jason Richardson, Mike Dunleavy Jr., and Troy Murphy—complementing them with experience in Derek Fisher, a free agent signed by Golden State after playing a key role on three championship Lakers squads, Calbert Cheaney, a playoff-tested sharpshooter and Adonal Foyle, an excellent shot-blocker who is perhaps better known for his off-court work as founder of the campaign finance reform organization, Democracy Matters. The team also drafted 7-foot center Andris Biedriņš from Latvia (11th overall). At the 2005 trading deadline, Mullin further added to the team by acquiring guard Baron Davis, bringing the team its first "superstar" since Mullin himself.

Warriors fans hoped that 2005–06 would finally be the season that the team ended their playoff drought. Despite the poor play of newly re-signed Mike Dunleavy Jr. and the broken hand of first round draft pick Ike Diogu, the Warriors enjoyed a great start to the 2005–06 season. They entered the new year with a winning percentage for the first time since 1994, but lost their first five games of 2006 and managed to win only 13 more games through the end of March. Star Baron Davis often found himself at odds with coach Mike Montgomery. Furthermore, Davis failed to remain healthy and played in just 54 games. He suffered a sprained right ankle in mid-February and did not return for long before being listed as an inactive player the remainder of the season. The injury-prone Davis had not played a full season since the 2001–02 campaign until the 2007–08 season in which he played all 82 games averaging 21.8 points a game (incidentally a contract year). On April 5, 2006, the Warriors were officially eliminated from playoff contention with a 114–109 overtime loss to the Hornets, extending their playoff drought to 12 seasons.

During the offseason, the Warriors rebuilt themselves. First in the 2006 NBA draft, the Warriors selected center Patrick O'Bryant with the 9th overall selection. They also traded Derek Fisher to the Utah Jazz for guards Devin Brown, Andre Owens and Keith McLeod, and signed training-camp invitees Matt Barnes, Anthony Roberson and Dajuan Wagner. Brown, Owens, Wagner, Roberson, Chris Taft and Will Bynum were all waived while Barnes established himself in the rotation. Golden State also announced that it had bought out the remaining two years of head coach Mike Montgomery's contract and hired previous Golden State and former Dallas Mavericks coach Don Nelson to take over in his place.

2006–2007: "We Believe" season[edit]

Entering the 2006–07 season, the Warriors held the active record (12) for the most consecutive seasons without a playoff appearance (see Active NBA non-playoff appearance streaks). The 2006–07 season brought new hope to the Warriors and the Warriors faithful. Fans hoped that the Warriors will eventually find themselves among the NBA's elite with Don Nelson leading a healthy Baron Davis, an ever-improving Jason Richardson, and future stars Monta Ellis and Andris Biedriņš.

On January 17, 2007, Golden State traded Troy Murphy, Mike Dunleavy Jr., Ike Diogu, and Keith McLeod to the Indiana Pacers for forward Al Harrington, forward/guard Stephen Jackson, guard Šarūnas Jasikevičius, and forward Josh Powell.[7] Many Warriors fans praised general manager Chris Mullin for the trade for getting rid of considerable financial burdens in Dunleavy and Murphy. The Warriors now sought to "run and gun" their way to the playoffs with a more athletic and talented team. On January 24, the Warriors won their first game with their revamped roster, with encouraging play from Monta Ellis, Al Harrington, and Baron Davis against the New Jersey Nets, ending dramatically on a buzzer beater from Ellis.

On March 4, 2007, the Warriors suffered a 107–106 loss in Washington handing them their 6th straight loss when Gilbert Arenas hit a technical free throw with less than one second remaining. The loss dropped them to 26–35, a hole inspiring the squad to a point of total determination. March 4, 2007 marked the turning point in the Warriors season. The Warriors closed out the regular season (42–40) with a 16–5 ending run.[8] During the run, they beat Eastern top seed Detroit Pistons 111–93, snapping their 6-game losing streak and notching their first win on the tail end of a back-to-back. The Warriors also ended the Dallas Mavericks' 17-game win streak with five players recording double digits. "We Believe" became the Warriors' slogan for the last couple months of the season and the playoffs.[9]

Warriors–Jazz game during the 2007 Playoffs

On April 22, 2007, the Warriors played their first playoff game in 13 years, and beat the Dallas Mavericks 97–85, holding MVP Dirk Nowitzki to just 4-of-16 shooting, making it 6 straight against the NBA-best, 67 game winners. But the Warriors were crushed by the Mavericks in Game 2 when both Baron Davis, sometimes referred to as "Boom Dizzle" by fans, and Stephen Jackson, also known as "Captain Jack", were ejected from the game. Then the Warriors bounced back by winning both Games 3 and 4 at home, putting Dallas on the brink of elimination. A close Game 5 saw the Mavericks eke out a 118–112 victory to send the 3–2 series back to California. The Warriors led by 9 with 2:41 left in the game, but Dallas scored 15 straight points. On May 3, 2007, the Warriors, with the help of their explosive third quarter, eliminated the Mavericks and became the first #8 seed to beat a #1 seed in a seven-game series. This was the Warriors' first playoff series win in 16 years. The Warriors went on to play the Utah Jazz in the second round of the 2006–07 playoffs.

Facing the Utah Jazz in the Conference Semifinals, the Warriors dropped two close games at EnergySolutions Arena to open the series. The Warriors had the chance to win both games late. In Game 1, Stephen Jackson missed a wide open 3 pointer that would have put the Warriors ahead with 6 seconds left. In Game 2, the Warriors led by 3 with 15 seconds left, but missed free throws allowed the Jazz to tie the game and eventually win in overtime. The series then shifted to the Oracle Arena, where the Warriors won Game 3 in a convincing blowout, 125–105. Baron Davis scored 32 points and electrified the crowd with a monster dunk on Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko late in the fourth quarter. The Warriors went on to lose Game 4 at home, in what was their first loss in Oakland in well over a month. The Jazz closed out the Warriors in Game 5 in Salt Lake City. In the end, the physical play of the Jazz simply wore down the smaller Warriors.

2007–2009: Rebuilding[edit]

After reestablishing itself as a playoff contender in the past season, the team set high expectations for itself. A much challenging year was foreseeable because the "We Believe" generation of Warriors had already gotten attention of the whole league. Shooting guard Jason Richardson was also traded to the Charlotte Bobcats for rookie Brandan Wright. To make things harder, Stephen Jackson received a 7-game suspension for his firearm incident. The absence of Jackson hurt the Warriors, as the team opened the season with six straight losses. Things immediately turned around with Jackson's return. The Warriors quickly fought back into playoff position. Monta Ellis's rise, Baron Davis's solid injury-free season (21.6 points, 8 assists, 4.6 rebounds per game),[10] and an overall improvement in chemistry, led to the good play of the team after Jackson's return. It was the first time the Warriors had three players average 20 points per game since the T-M-C era (Davis at 21.7, Ellis at 20.7, Jackson at 20.1).

On January 29, 2008, the Warriors signed Chris Webber for the rest of the season. But the Warriors offense was too fast for Webber and he ended up playing only nine games.[11] The team remained in playoff contention until the last week of the season. On April 14, 2008, the Warriors were officially eliminated from playoff contention after losing to the Phoenix Suns 122–116 in Phoenix. Despite finishing with a 48–34 record—their highest winning percentage in 14 years—they finished two games out of the playoffs in a conference where every playoff team won 50 games. The Warriors sold out nearly every home game during the season averaging 19,631 per game, the highest in team history.

On June 30, 2008, Baron Davis opted out of the last year of his contract with Golden State. Days before July 9, when teams were officially allowed to sign free agents, he had verbally agreed to a five-year, $65 million deal with the Los Angeles Clippers.

To replace Davis, Golden State offered Gilbert Arenas and Elton Brand lucrative contracts, but Arenas re-signed with the Washington Wizards and Elton Brand signed with the Philadelphia 76ers. With the 14th pick of the 2008 NBA draft, the Warriors selected and signed Anthony Randolph out of LSU. On July 10, Golden State inked Clipper free agent Corey Maggette to a five-year, $50 million deal.

On July 19, 2008, the Warriors signed Ronny Turiaf from the Los Angeles Lakers. Also, on July 22, 2008, the Warriors acquired Marcus Williams from the New Jersey Nets for a future first-round draft pick. On July 24, 2008, the Warriors resigned Monta Ellis to a new 6-year contract worth $66 million, matched the Clippers' July 17, three-year, $9 million offer for Kelenna Azubuike, and signed second round draft pick Richard Hendrix. On July 26, 2008, the Warriors also resigned Andris Biedrins with a six-year contract worth nearly $63 million (including bonuses).

2009–present: The Stephen Curry era[edit]

On November 21, 2008, the Warriors traded forward Al Harrington to the New York Knicks for guard Jamal Crawford. On January 23, 2009, after missing 43 games due to injury and suspension, Monta Ellis returned in a loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. He recorded 20 points to go with three rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block. On April 14, 2009, fans cheered as rookie Anthony Randolph scored 24 points with 16 boards to lead the Warriors to a 30-point loss against the San Antonio Spurs. As the youngest team in the NBA, the Warriors were ranked second in the league in scoring averaging 108.6 points per game. The Warriors had a disappointing 2008–09 season, finishing 29–53. Their record can be largely attributed to the absence of Monta Ellis in the beginning of the season, injuries and the minimal experience of the young players such as C. J. Watson, Rob Kurz, Anthony Morrow and Brandan Wright.

The Warriors' head coach Don Nelson often had to make adjustments to the starting lineups since many of the original starters missed games due to injuries. Nelson used various starting lineups during the season and it was difficult to predict who would start each game. Nelson stated at the beginning of the year that the 2008–09 season would be difficult, but saw tremendous growth among his young players, especially in rookie Anthony Randolph (14th pick in 2008 NBA draft from LSU). Randolph proved to be a consistent scoring threat, a strong defensive weapon and a promising player in the future. Lakers' forward Lamar Odom, whom Randolph has often been compared to during the season, was even impressed with Randolph's ability and complimented his performances. Despite the team's losing record, the Warriors demonstrated that they could be a tough opponent with a healthy lineup and a strong bench. The Warriors showed that with leadership and improvement in their young players, they were able to defeat powerhouse teams (such as their 99–89 win over the defending NBA Champion Boston Celtics). With the full recovery of the Warriors' starters and continued growth of the young rookies, the Warriors hoped to be a playoff contender during the 2009–10 season.

On May 12, 2009, the Golden State Warriors decided not to renew the contract of General Manager Chris Mullin. Larry Riley took over as General Manager and drafted Stephen Curry with the 7th overall pick. In the 2009 offseason, the Warriors traded Jamal Crawford to the Atlanta Hawks for Acie Law and Speedy Claxton. Marco Belinelli was also traded during the offseason to the Toronto Raptors for Devean George. On August 31, 2009, the Warriors signed former Boston Celtics forward/center Mikki Moore. On November 16, 2009, Stephen Jackson and Acie Law were traded to the Charlotte Bobcats for Raja Bell and Vladimir Radmanovic. Four days later they signed center Chris Hunter.

On January 8, 2010, the Warriors waived Mikki Moore. During the month of January 2010, they signed two forwards to 10-day contracts which included, Cartier Martin from the Iowa Energy, Anthony Tolliver from the Idaho Stampede, and guard Coby Karl. On February 7, Speedy Claxton was waived and the Warriors signed Tolliver for the rest of the year. The Warriors were granted another injury exception and signed Reggie Williams from the Sioux Skyforce to a 10-day contract on March 2, 2010, making it their fifth D-League call up this year, tying an NBA record. Ten days later, they signed Williams to another 10-day contract. The Warriors eventually waived guard Raja Bell in order to sign Williams for the rest of the year. After signing Williams, it was announced that the Golden State Warriors franchise would be on sale.

The Warriors finished the season 26–56, fourth in the Pacific Division.

The Warriors opening the 2011–12 season

On June 24, 2010, the Warriors selected Ekpe Udoh with the 6th overall pick of the 2010 NBA draft. They also introduced a modernized version of their "The City" logo depicting the new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, and switched to a simplified color scheme of royal blue and gold. They also introduced new uniforms reminiscent of the 1969–71 "The City" uniforms. The Warriors made an offseason trade that sent Turiaf, Randolph and Azubuike to the New York Knicks in return for star high-scoring power forward David Lee via a sign-and-trade. Lee agreed to a six-year, $80 million deal. Following Morrow's departure after he signed the New Jersey Nets' offer sheet, the Warriors signed Dorell Wright to a three-year, $11 million deal.

On July 15, owner Chris Cohan sold the Warriors to Peter Guber of Mandalay Entertainment and his partner Joe Lacob for a then-record $450 million.

The Warriors continued their signing spree by adding Harvard guard Jeremy Lin to their roster with a one-year partially guaranteed contract containing a second-year team option, the first Taiwanese-American player in NBA history. Louis Amundson was then added for little under $5 million in mid-September. Keith Smart was hired as head coach that same month after Nelson had resigned before the start of training camp.

In February 2011, the Warriors traded Brandan Wright and Dan Gadzuric for Troy Murphy and a 2011 second-round pick. On February 27, Murphy and the Warriors reached a buyout agreement and he was waived.

During a steady season without making any real ground in the playoff race, the Warriors broke franchise records with 21 made 3's in a win against the Orlando Magic. In April 2011, Dorell Wright made a franchise record of 184 3's in a season in a home win versus Los Angeles Lakers, surpassing Richardson's 183 in 2005–06. He then broke another NBA record, as the first player to have scored more points in his seventh season than in all his first six seasons combined in a win against the Portland Trail Blazers. He ended the season with the most three-pointers made in the NBA that season with 194, as well as the most 3s attempted with 516, both of which set new Warrior franchise records.

The Warriors failed to make the playoffs after a 36-win season in 2010–11, and coach Smart was dismissed on April 27 due to the change in ownership. 17-year NBA veteran and former ABC and ESPN commentator Mark Jackson replaced him as head coach on June 6. On December 19, they traded Amundson to the Indiana Pacers for small forward Brandon Rush.

2011–2014: Mark Jackson era[edit]

The Warriors did not improve in the 2011–12 season under coach Jackson, finishing the lockout-shorted season with a 23–43 record, 13th in the conference. The team suffered several injuries to key players, and due to the lockout, Jackson could not establish his system in training camp. They then entered into another chaotic rebuilding phase.

Team leader Monta Ellis was traded in mid-March 2012, along with Kwame Brown and Ekpe Udoh, to the Milwaukee Bucks for center Andrew Bogut (out injured for the season) and former Warrior small forward Stephen Jackson, who without playing a game for the Warriors, was quickly traded to the San Antonio Spurs for Richard Jefferson and a conditional first-round pick on March 15. These moves saw the rise of Stephen Curry and David Lee to team co-captains, and saw off-guard Klay Thompson, the 11th overall pick of the 2011 NBA draft, move into a starting role. On July 11, they acquired point guard Jarrett Jack from the New Orleans Hornets in a three-team trade also including the Philadelphia 76ers, who received Dorell Wright from Golden State. On August 1, they signed forward Carl Landry on the termination of his one-year contract with the Hornets. In the 2012 NBA draft, they selected small forward Harrison Barnes with the 7th overall pick, center Festus Ezeli with the 30th pick, small forward Draymond Green 35th overall, and 7-foot 1-inch center Ognjen Kuzmic 52nd overall. In early November, swingman Rush was lost for the year with a torn ACL after falling awkwardly on the court early in the second game of the season, and less than a month later, the team announced that Bogut was out indefinitely with a foot injury that was more serious than originally reported. Bogut did not return to regular play until late in the season.

The "Splash Brothers": Stephen Curry (left) and Klay Thompson (right)

Coming out of this maelstrom of trades and injuries with a team starting two rookies (Barnes and Ezeli) in the 2012–13 season, the Warriors had one of their best starts in decades, earning their 20th win before hitting the 30-game mark for the first time since 1992. The Warriors also achieved a milestone by completing their first ever 6–1 road trip in franchise history, including a 97–95 win over the defending champion Heat in Miami. On April 9, 2013, with a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Warriors clinched the playoffs for the second time in 19 years and the first time since the 2006–07 "We Believe" Warriors. This time, the local battlecry was "We Belong".

The team finished the 2012–13 season with a record of 47–35, earning the sixth seed in the Western Conference, and defeated the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs by winning four out of six games. They lost in the second round to the San Antonio Spurs, four games to two. This was the first playoff experience for all of the starters of this group except for Andrew Bogut.

Other highlights of the season included Stephen Curry's 272 three-point baskets to set an NBA single-season record, giving him the nickname "baby-faced assassin", and the naming of forward David Lee to the 2013 NBA All-Star Game as a reserve, ending the team's 16-year drought without an All Star selection, dating back to Latrell Sprewell in the 1997 season. Curry and Klay Thompson, dubbed the "Splash Brothers" by team employee Brian Witt for their backcourt shooting prowess, combined for 483 three-pointers during the season, easily besting the prior record of 435 set by the Orlando Magic's Nick Anderson and Dennis Scott in 1995–96.

With their lone selection in the 2013 NBA draft, the Warriors made 22-year-old Serbian combo-guard Nemanja Nedovic the 30th and final pick of the first round. In early July 2013, Golden State signed former Denver Nuggets swingman and free agent Andre Iguodala to a four-year, $48 million deal. To make room under their salary cap, the Warriors traded Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins and Brandon Rush, along with multiple draft picks, including their 2014 and 2017 first-round picks, to the Utah Jazz. The Warriors lost free-agent guard Jarrett Jack, who departed for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and free agent power forward Carl Landry, who went to the Sacramento Kings. To help fill the void left by Landry, the Warriors signed forward-center Marreese Speights to a three-year, $10 million contract. The team also signed one-year deals with veteran center Jermaine O'Neal ($2 million) and point guard Toney Douglas ($1.6 million). On August 21, the Warriors signed 7'1" Serbian center Ognjen Kuzmic, who had been playing in Europe since his selection in the 2012 NBA draft, to a guaranteed two-year deal.

The Warriors began the 2013–14 season showing flashes of brilliance and also plenty of lapses. In early December their record was 12–9, as compared to 17–4 the year before. One challenging factor was a tough starting schedule that saw them play 14 of their first 22 games on the road, including 10 games against teams holding playoff spots in the standings. A stream of injuries also held the team back, including injuries to Festus Ezeli (off-season surgery to repair the right knee, out for the season), Toney Douglas (left tibia stress reaction, out nearly a month from mid-November to December), and Jermaine O'Neal (right wrist injury and surgery, out from mid-November to early February). Stephen Curry and Harrison Barnes were also out for at least four games before the all-star break, each with minor injuries. Most prominently of all, Iguodala suffered a hamstring pull in late November that kept him out for over a month, during which time the Warriors' performance suffered significantly on both the defensive and offensive ends of the court, and the team posted a losing 5–7 record while revealing a lack of depth on their bench. With Iguodala back in the lineup, the Warriors went on a 10-game winning streak, which included six consecutive wins on a single road trip, tying an NBA record. The winning streak was the longest for the franchise since the 1975 championship year, and just one short of the team record of 11 consecutive wins, set in the 1971–72 season.

To strengthen their underperforming bench, the Warriors made a three-team trade on January 15, sending Douglas to the Miami Heat and picking up guards Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks from the Boston Celtics and then, a day before the trade deadline, trading Kent Bazemore and Brooks to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for veteran point guard Steve Blake. Thanks in part to the improved effectiveness of their backup squad, boosted by the additions of Blake and Crawford and the play of 35-year-old Jermaine O'Neal (who returned sooner than expected from wrist surgery), the Warriors were one of the winningest teams in the NBA after the all-star break. Nonetheless, and despite several victories over top contenders, the team displayed a pattern of losing games to inferior teams even at their home arena. On April 11, in a 112–95 stomping of the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center, the Warriors clinched a playoff berth in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1991 and 1992. However, just one day earlier in a loss against the Portland Trail Blazers, Andrew Bogut suffered a cracked rib that would keep him out of the post-season, a big blow to the sixth-seed Warriors' playoff hopes.

The Warriors ended the 2013–14 season 51–31, winning more than 50 games for only the fourth time in franchise history, finishing 20 games over .500 for the first time in 22 years, and tying the 1991–92 squad for the franchise's all-time mark of 24 wins on the road. Even without Bogut, in the first round of the playoffs the Warriors battled the third-seed Los Angeles Clippers to a seventh and deciding game, which the Warriors lost, bringing their 2013–14 season to an end. It was season of many thrilling moments in which the Warriors' played in 17 regular-season games decided by 2 points or less, 6 games with winning shots in the final 3 seconds, and 7 comeback wins in which the Warriors had been behind by 15 points or more.

In other noteworthy occurrences for the season, Curry was named to the starting lineup for the 2014 NBA All-Star Game. For Curry, the only Warrior named to the team, this was his first all-star appearance in five seasons as an NBA player. Curry hit another notable milestone in posting 4 triple-doubles for the season, tying a franchise record unequaled since Wilt Chamberlain in 1963–64. Curry also averaged career-bests in points and assists; averaging 24.0 points and 8.5 assists in the season. Curry and Klay Thompson continued to set league records in three-point shooting. On February 7, in a 102–87 win over the Chicago Bulls, the backcourt duo became the first teammates to each make a three-pointer in 30 consecutive games. Curry, who finished the season with 261 threes, set an individual record for most three-pointers in a span of two seasons with 533, surpassing the previous mark of 478 set by Seattle Supersonic Ray Allen in 2004–05 and 2005–06. Together, Thompson and Curry combined for 484 threes on the year, besting by one the NBA record they had set the year before.

2014–present: The Steve Kerr era[edit]

On May 14, 2014, the Golden State Warriors named Steve Kerr the team's head coach, in a reported $25 million deal over five years. It was a first-time head-coaching position for Kerr, 48, a five-time NBA champion point guard who holds the all-time career record for accuracy in three-point shooting (.454). Kerr formerly served as president and general manager for the Phoenix Suns basketball team (2007 to 2010), and had most recently been working as an NBA broadcast analyst for Turner Network Television (TNT).

The Warriors completed the 2014–15 season with a record of 67–15, the best in the league and the most wins in franchise history. The Warriors also finished with a home record of 39–2, the second best in NBA history. They were first in defensive efficiency for the season and second in offensive efficiency, barely missing the mark that the Julius Erving led Sixers achieved by being first in both offensive and defensive efficiency. On May 4, Stephen Curry was named the 2014–15 NBA Most Valuable Player, the first Warrior to do so since Wilt Chamberlain in 1960. In the first round of the playoffs, they swept the New Orleans Pelicans, defeated Memphis Grizzlies in the second round in six games and defeated Houston Rockets in five games of the Western Conference Finals. The Warriors advanced to their first NBA Finals since 1975, where they defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games to win their fourth NBA title, and their first in 40 years. Andre Iguodala was named Finals MVP.

Other highlights of the season included Stephen Curry breaking his own record for three-pointers made in a single season with 286. He and Klay Thompson made a combined 525 three-pointers, the most by a duo in NBA history. In the postseason, Curry shattered Reggie Miller's record of 58 made three-pointers in a single postseason with 98. On January 23, 2015, Klay Thompson broke an NBA record for points in a quarter with 37 in the third. Curry was also the leader in the voting polls for the 2015 NBA All-Star Game, won the 2014–15 NBA Most Valuable Player award and the 2015 ESPYs Best Male Athlete award.

The Warriors began the 2015–16 season by winning their first 24 games, eclipsing the previous best start in NBA history, set by the 1993–94 Houston Rockets and the 1948–49 Washington Capitols at 15–0. The Warriors surpassed the 1969–70 New York Knicks for the best road start in NBA history at 14–0, which is also the joint-third longest road win streak. Their record-setting start ended when they were defeated by the Milwaukee Bucks on December 12, 2015. The Warriors broke a 131-year-old record of 20–0 set by the 1884 St. Louis Maroons baseball team, to claim the best start to a season in all of the major professional sports in America. Golden State also won 28 consecutive regular-season games dating back to the 2014–15 season, eclipsing the 2012–13 Miami Heat for the second longest winning streak in NBA history. The team set an NBA record 54-straight regular season home game winning streak, which spanned from January 31, 2015 to March 29, 2016. The previous record of 44 was held by the 1995–96 Chicago Bulls team led by Michael Jordan.

Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson were all named to the All-Star Game, the first time the Warriors have had three All-Stars since 1976. Green broke the Golden State franchise record of nine triple-doubles in a season. Curry broke numerous three-point records during the season, including his own NBA record for made three-pointers in a season of 286; he finished the season with 402 three pointers. He made a three-pointer in 151 consecutive games, which broke the NBA record of 127 set by Kyle Korver in 2014. On February 27, 2016, Curry also tied the NBA record of twelve three-pointers made in a single game, jointly holding it with Donyell Marshall and Kobe Bryant. On April 3, 2016, the Warriors won their 69th game of the season by defeating the Portland Trail Blazers at home, and became the fourth team in NBA history to reach 69 wins in a single season, joining the 1971–72 Los Angeles Lakers, 1995–96 Chicago Bulls and 1996–97 Chicago Bulls.

On April 13, 2016, Golden State set the record for most wins in a single season, beating Memphis, and finishing 73–9. On May 10, 2016, Stephen Curry was named the NBA Most Valuable Player for the second straight season. Curry is the 11th player to win back-to-back MVP honors and became the first player in NBA history to win the MVP award by unanimous vote, winning all 131 first-place votes. The Golden State Warriors went to their second consecutive appearance in the finals with a rematch against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Warriors went to a 3–1 advantage, but the Cavaliers made a comeback to tie the series at 3 wins apiece. In Game 7, the Golden State Warriors lost the championship series on their homecourt, and earned the unfortunate distinction of becoming the first team to give up a 3–1 lead in the NBA finals.

On July 4, 2016, Kevin Durant announced he would leave the Oklahoma City Thunder in order to sign a 2-year contract with the Golden State Warriors. On July 7, Durant signed his contract, which gave the Warriors a fourth All-NBA player on their team. The Durant signing made the Warriors the prohibitive favorites to win the NBA championship, according to oddsmakers.

The Warriors posted many notable achievements during the 2016–17 regular season. On November 7, 2016, Stephen Curry set the NBA record for most 3-pointers in a game with 13, in a 116–106 win over the Pelicans. On December 5, 2016, Klay Thompson scored 60 points in 29 minutes, in a 142–106 victory over the Pacers. In doing so, Thompson became the first player in NBA history to score 60 or more points in fewer than 30 minutes of playing time. Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson were all named to the 2017 NBA All-Star Game, making the Warriors only the eighth team in NBA history to have four All-Stars. On February 10, 2017, Draymond Green recorded a triple-double with 12 rebounds, 10 assists, and 10 steals, becoming the first player in NBA history to post a triple-double with fewer than 10 points. On March 2, 2017, the Warriors' streak for most games without back-to-back losses ended at 146 with a 94–87 loss to the Chicago Bulls. The streak eclipsed the previous record of 95 held by the Utah Jazz.

The Warriors earned home-court advantage throughout the 2017 playoffs, thanks to a 2016–17 regular season record of 67–15. They were the first team in NBA playoff history to start 12–0, defeating in order the Trail Blazers, the Jazz, and the Spurs. The 2017 Finals once again pitted the Warriors against the Cavaliers, becoming the first time in NBA history that two teams met in the Finals for three consecutive years. The Warriors won the championship after going 4–1 in the Finals, and their 16–1 playoff record garnered the best winning percentage (.941) in NBA playoffs history. Kevin Durant was named the Finals MVP award after he scored at least 30 points in all five NBA Finals games and averaging 35.2 points per game. The victory at Oracle Arena to secure the title was the first title victory by a Bay Area team at home since the Oakland Athletics won the World Series in the Oakland–Alameda Coliseum in 1974, capping off a three-peat World Series run.

On June 8, 2018, the Golden State Warriors swept the Cleveland Cavaliers in four games, becoming the ninth team to have swept their rivals in NBA Finals history. They have established themselves as a dynasty with their second consecutive championship and third in the past four years.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Official NBA Basketball Encyclopedia. Villard Books. 1994. p. 29. ISBN 0-679-43293-0. 
  2. ^ The Official NBA Basketball Encyclopedia. Villard Books. 1994. p. 33. ISBN 0-679-43293-0. 
  3. ^ NBA's 100 top moments, retrieved 5 Dec 2007
  4. ^ WARRIORS: Golden State Warriors History
  5. ^ Fainaru-Wada, Mark (February 10, 2002). "The man who owns the Warriors / Cohan's rocky reign / An era marked by lost games, lost fans and endless litigation". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  6. ^ The Golden State Warriors’ Superhero, Back When They Needed One, The New York Times
  7. ^ Pacers make 8-player trade with Warriors @ Pacers official website
  8. ^ Warriors@ Trail Blazers Recap On April 18, 2007, the Warriors clinched their first playoff bid since 1994 with a resounding 120–98 victory in their season finale at Portland.
  9. ^ Thompson, Marcus, II (April 27, 2007). "Warriors fan is behind 'We Believe' campaign". Contra Costa Times. Archived from the original on July 17, 2007. 
  10. ^ ESPN Baron Davis Player Card
  11. ^ Warriors' Webber calls it quits, SI.com. Retrieved on March 25, 2008.

Further reading[edit]

  • Peterson, Robert W. (2002). "The BAA and War Between the Leagues". Cages to Jump Shots: Pro Basketball's Early Years. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. pp. 150–165. ISBN 0-8032-8772-0.