Several blue-chip players have manned the small forward slot for the Warriors. Here are the best of the best.
1. RICK BARRY
He had two go-rounds with the Warriors—1966-67 and 1973-78—during which he averaged 25.6 points, 5.1 assists, and 7.3 rebounds per game. Barry was the Finals MVP when the Warriors won the championship in 1975, and he averaged 40.8 points in the 1967 Finals. Also in 1975, Barry was named to the All-NBA first team and, all told, he appeared in eight All-Star Games. He could do everything but play defense, but Barry was the progenitor of the point-forward. It is no surprise that he was subsequently named to the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team as well as inducted into the Hall of Fame.
2. CHRIS MULLIN
Another Warrior who graduated into the Hall of Fame, Mullin averaged 20.1 points and shot a remarkable 53.5 percent over the course of 13 seasons with the team (1986-97, 2000-01). Also on his resume are five All-Star appearances, an All-NBA first team designation (1992), and two All-NBA second team honors. If Mullin couldn’t run, rebound, or defend, he could always find a way to score.
3. KEVIN DURANT
His one season at Golden State was nothing less than awesome. However, even if he can continue his brilliant play for several more seasons, the best he could do would be to perhaps move up one notch.
4. LATRELL SPREWELL
From 1992-98, he was one of the best two-way players in the league. The proof is evident in his three All-Star Games. In 1994, Sprewell was named to the All-NBA first team plus the NBA All-Defensive second team. Indeed, he had a chokehold on all aspects of the game, both on and off the court.
5. PURVIS SHORT
Given that he averaged 19.4 points during his Warrior career (1979-87), shot a cumulative 47.9 percent, and scored 28 points per game in the 1984-85 season, it’s one of the NBA’s all-time injustices that Short was never an All-Star.
6. BERNARD KING
He was unstoppable when driving hoopward from the left side of the attack zone. Plus he had such an unpredictable variety of shot-release positions that he was likewise virtually unguardable whenever he set up in the low post. During his two-year tenure with the Warriors (1981-82), King averaged 22.5 points, was a one-time All-Star, and made the All-NBA second team. Unfortunately, injuries and drug abuse greatly hindered his nevertheless brilliant career.
7. CAZZIE RUSSELL
A pure scorer, Cazzie averaged 19.2 points and played in one All-Star Game in his three seasons as a Warrior (1972-74). Defense? Passing? Rebounding? His teammates were responsible for doing those, but give Cazzie the ball and it was lights out.
ALSO – Jim Jackson, Billy Owens, Sarunas Marciulionis.
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