Editor’s Note: The modern era of the NBA is generally accepted to have begun with the 1979-80 season, the advent of the 3-point line in the NBA. The lists to follow—one for each of the NBA’s 30 teams—will only consider seasons since 1979-80. We continue the series today with the best of the Golden State Warriors.
The Golden State Warriors are one of three remaining teams from the charter season of the Basketball Association of America in 1946, along with the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks.
Unlike the other two, however, they are not in their original home.
Born the Philadelphia Warriors in 1946-47, the franchise was the first recognized champions in NBA history, upsetting the favored Chicago Stags in the BAA Finals.
Since then, the Warriors won another title in Philadelphia in 1956. The franchise’s third title came in 1974-75, after it had moved to the Bay Area.
Franklin Mieuli bought the team from original owners Peter Tyrell and Steven Kim in 1962 and moved the team to San Francisco, where it played as the San Francisco Warriors until 1971, when they moved most of their home games to Oakland in the East Bay and renamed themselves the Golden State Warriors.
The Warriors played and lost in the Finals in 1948 (to the now-defunct Baltimore Bullets), 1964 (to the Celtics) and 1967 (to the Philadelphia 76ers).
From their inception through 1976-77, the Warriors were in the postseason 23 times in 31 seasons, but have made the playoffs just seven times in 38 seasons since then. The Warriors have experienced a nine-year playoff drought from 1977-86 and went 12 years without a postseason appearance from 1995-2006.
Golden State’s back-to-back playoff berths in 2013 and 2014 are the franchise’s first since 1991 and 1992 and they haven’t advanced past the conference semifinals since 1976.
Al Attles, who also played his entire 11-year NBA career with the Warriors, is the franchise’s winningest coach. He was 557-518 in two stints from 1969-70 through 1978-79 and from 1979-80 through 1982-83.
Don Nelson won 422 games in two stints as head coach, from 1988-89 through 1994-95 and 2006-07 through 2009-10. The franchise’s first coach, Eddie Gottlieb, won 263 games from 1946-47 through 1954-55. Steve Kerr, who was named the team’s new coach earlier this year, is the 25th head coach of the Warriors.
In 68 seasons, the Warriors have handed personnel control to only 14 men. Gottlieb had the job from April 1952 through August 1963 and Bob Feerick was the GM from August 1963 until June 1974.
Attles had almost a 10-year run as well, running the personnel side of things from June 1976 until May 1986.
Here are the best players, by position, for the Golden State Warriors in the modern era, beginning in 1979-80. Players had to have played 200 games for the franchise and averaged 25 minutes per game.