T-shirts depicting a map of the bay area and the new bay bridge Golden State Warriors logo Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

In recent years, the Golden State Warriors have become one of the most dominant dynasties in NBA history, led by All-Star and future NBA Hall of Famer Steph Curry.

What young fans may not realize is that the Warriors were a force in the NBA before Steph and this current team came along. Beginning in Philadelphia before they moved to the West Coast, the Warriors have a storied NBA history that includes icons such as Wilt Chamberlain, Rick Barry, and Chris Mullin.

While the Bay Area squad has a lot of great players and champions in its history, here’s the list of the 10 best Golden State Warriors of all time.

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) and forward Kevin Durant (35)
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

10. Kevin Durant, power forward

Although Kevin Durant’s time with the Warriors was short (three years), he made a sizable impact on the franchise. Durant joined the Warriors because he wanted to win an NBA Championship and he did just that. Durant helped lead the Warriors to the NBA title in 2017 and 2018, winning NBA Finals MVP both times. The three-time Olympic gold medalist averaged 35.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 5.4 assists in the 2017 NBA Finals. The following NBA Finals, he averaged almost 30 points a game, 11 rebounds, and eight assists. While he would later move on to play for the Brooklyn Nets and now the Phoenix Suns, Durant’s time with Golden State might just go down as the highlight of his storied career.

9. Neil Johnston, center

Before they made their home in the Bay Area, the Warriors called Philadelphia home, and one of their first stars was center Neil Johnston. Johnston was a six-time NBA All-Star who led the NBA in scoring three times and rebounding once. He also won an NBA championship with the Warriors in 1956. Johnston, who averaged 19 points per game, had over 10,000 points in his career. He later coached the Warriors for two seasons and is part of both the College Basketball Hall of Fame and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

8. Paul Arizin, forward

Paul Arizin, like Johnston, played for the Warriors during their Philadelphia days. After 12 seasons, he left with the third-highest career point total (16,266) in NBA history and was named to the NBA’s 25th, 50th, and 75th-anniversary teams. Arizin, who was French-born, averaged about 22 points per game and almost nine rebounds per game. The 10-time All-Star was a two-time league-scoring champion and helped the Warriors win the 1956 NBA title.

Rick Barry free throws

7. Rick Barry, small forward

Before Steph Curry, there was Rick Barry. The Miami standout spent two seasons with the San Francisco Warriors before chasing big contracts in the ABA. He returned to the NBA and spent six more seasons with Golden State before finishing his career with the Houston Rockets. Barry was one of the most prolific scorers in professional basketball history, averaging almost 25 points per game and ending his career with over 25,000 points. He is also an NBA champion, NBA Finals MVP, NBA Rookie of the Year, and eight-time All-Star. But what Barry is probably most known for is being the most prolific free throw scorer in the league’s history, hitting 90 percent of his career free throws. The Warriors retired his No. 24 and he is now enshrined in the College Basketball Hall of Fame and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Draymond Green during Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

6. Draymond Green, power forward

Where would this current Warriors team be with the services of one Draymond Green? Green, who was an All-American coming out of Michigan State, became the heartbeat of the Warriors dynasty. A solid scorer, Green has made himself into one of the best defensive players in the league making the All-Defensive First Team four times and the All-Defensive Second Team four times. A four-time NBA champion, four-time NBA All-Star, NBA Defensive Player of the Year, and more than likely, a future NBA Hall of Famer, he also led the NBA in steals in 2017 and won two gold medals with the U.S. Olympic Basketball Team.

5. Nate Thurmond, center, and power forward

Nate Thurmond was one of the first NBA players to average a double-double in his NBA career, averaging 15 points and 15 rebounds per game. Like Draymond Green, Thurmond was more known for his defensive play. The seven-time All-Star was named to the All-NBA Defensive First Team twice and Second Team three times. If not for Wilt Chamberlain, he might have been voted MVP once or twice as well. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said Thurmond was the toughest defender he ever faced in his career. The Warriors retired his No. 42 and he is enshrined in the College Basketball Hall of Fame and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

4. Chris Mullin, small forward and point guard

The three-time All-American out of St. John’s was the face of the Warriors in the late 1980s and 1990s. Chris Mullin averaged almost 18 ppg and four rpg throughout his career with the team, though he averaged over 20 ppg for six straight seasons. A five-time All-Star, Mullin also made the 1992 All-NBA First Team and was named to the Second Team twice. He also won gold medals for the U.S. in 1984 and with the 1992 “Dream Team.” Mullin’s No. 17 is now retired and he is a member of both the College Basketball Hall of Fame and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Klay Thompson
Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

3. Klay Thompson, shooting guard

Klay Thompson has become almost as valuable to this current Golden State Warriors team as Steph Curry, becoming the Robin to his Batman. Thompson was the Warriors’ first-round pick in 2011 and he and Curry soon became an unstoppable one-two offensive punch. In 2014, they set a then-NBA record with 484 combined three-pointers in a season, a record they would break two years later. Thompson helped lead the Warriors to their 2015 NBA Championship and was a huge part of the 2017 and 2018 NBA titles as well. While injuries have hampered him in recent seasons, he returned in time to help the Warriors secure a fourth championship in eight seasons in 2022. The five-time NBA All-Star has a career average of just under 20 ppg and he’s averaged at least 20 ppg in every season since 2014-2015.

2. Wilt Chamberlain, center

Wilt Chamberlain may be more known for his stints with the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers, but the first six years of his NBA career were spent with the Warriors. Chamberlain joined the Warriors after leaving the Harlem Globetrotters in 1959. That year, he averaged 37.6 points and 27 rebounds, breaking the previous regular-season league records. Chamberlain broke eight NBA records and he was named both Rookie of the Year and MVP that season. He would average an astounding 50.4 ppg in 1961-62 and averaged at least 30 ppg in every season he spent with the Warriors. The biggest accomplishment of his Warriors career was probably his 100-point game against the New York Knicks, which still stands as an NBA record. In that game, he shot 36-of-63 from the field and made 28-of-32 free throws.

Dillon Brooks found himself matched up against Steph Curry during Sunday's Rockets vs. Warriors game. It did not go well for Brooks. Photo Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

1. Steph Curry, shooting guard

Steph Curry’s performance in the 2008 NCAA Tournament is still one of the most talked about in history, which is part of why the Warriors selected him in the 2009 NBA Draft. Still, it was hard to imagine he would soon become the face of the NBA, along with LeBron James. He is a four-time NBA champion, two-time NBA MVP, NBA Finals MVP, and nine-time NBA All-Star. As he has often proven in his NBA career, Curry can take over a game at will, or simply dominate it. Widely considered to be the greatest shooter and one of the greatest players in NBA history, Curry still has room to add to his already impressive career resume, which is why he’s already at the top of our list.

About Stacey Mickles

Stacey is a 1995 graduate of the University of Alabama who has previously worked for other publications such as Sportskeeda and Saturday Down South.