Ranking the Best NBA Free-Agency Signings in Golden State Warriors History
The Golden State Warriors have not been known for very many big-time free-agent signings in their history, but their recent acquisition of Andre Iguodala might rank as one of the best.
Oracle Arena has been a place where players come when they need a temporary stop or are just idling in their careers. The previous ownership group of Chris Cowan and company did not put a quality product on the floor for almost 20 years and had the same lack of aggressiveness for the free-agency process.
The new ownership group of Joe Lacob and Peter Guber looks like they have figured it out in only a few seasons. The group, along with general manager Bob Myers, have moved the team forward with lightning speed into a perennial playoff contender.
That being said, let’s take a closer look at the all-time best free-agency signings in Warriors’ history.
6. Mario Elie
Mario Elie was a diamond in the rough when the Warriors signed him to a 10-day contract on February 23, 1991. He was a seventh-round draft pick by the Milwaukee Bucks in 1985, but he traveled to different countries before returning to the NBA with the Philadelphia 76ers in 1990.
Elie was a key contributor with the Run TMC Warriors teams. As soon as he was signed to a contract, he played liked he belonged in the NBA by shooting over 50 percent from the field and over 85 percent from the charity stripe as a small forward.
He was also a key player in the playoffs, as he helped the Warriors beat the San Antonio Spurs in the first round and made it difficult for the Los Angeles Lakers to finally get by the Warriors in six games.
Elie did a lot of the dirty work on those Warriors teams, but he was also known for his defensive effort. Since he had to fight to get a 10-day contract, he made sure to stick around.
He played just one and a half seasons with the Warriors and averaged 7.7 PPG, 3.6 RPG and 1.5 APG during the 1990-91 campaign and 7.8 PPG, 2.9 RPG and 2.2 APG in 1991-92. He left the Warriors the following summer for the Portland Trail Blazers and would later win three NBA titles.
5. Dorell Wright
Dorell Wright made this list because he is a very talented shooter and did play a very important part in a a three-way, three-team trade that landed Jarrett Jack in Oakland.. He originally chose the Warriors on July 13, 2010.
Wright possessed a lot of tools that he had not yet had the chance to show off at the NBA level. He had won a championship with the Miami Heat in 2006 after being drafted with the 19th overall pick in the 2004 NBA draft.
His best season with the Dubs was 2010-11, when he started every game and put up averages of 16.4 PPG, 5.3 RPG and 3.0 APG. He also set the Warriors’ record for three-points shots made in a season (194) and led the NBA in the category as well.
Wright also became the first player in NBA history to have scored more points in his seventh year than his cumulative six seasons combined. He put up 1,344 points in the 2010-11.
The following season was not as productive, as all of his game averages dipped from his standout campaign. He averaged only 10.3 PPG, 4.6 RPG and 1.5 APG. However, he
4. David Lee
David Lee is a recent free-agent acquisition who has had a lot of success. This past season, he made an All-Star appearance and ranked at the top of the league with 56 double-doubles.
Lee earned it with hard work and effort, leading a front court without prized acquisition Andrew Bogut for most of the season. He took on a much larger role for the Warriors and helped them win close games.
The criticisms most often levied against Lee are that he lacks defensive ability, his points and rebounds are mostly for show and he was overpaid to come to the Warriors. Lee’s hard work around the basket, especially his rebounding ability (he secured 11.2 rebounds a game), make up for some of his defensive liabilities.
Lee is a little bit overpriced even after coming off the first All-Star appearance for the Warriors since Latrell Sprewell in 1997. But Lee is a team leader, and he fought off a season-ending injury in the playoffs to play limited minutes against both Denver and San Antonio.
Lee’s statistics at the end of this last season were 18.5 PPG, 11.2 RPG and 3.5 APG.
3. Carl Landry
Carl Landry was the first step in the changing of the guard in terms of signing free agents. Recently deputized general manager Bob Myers showed he had the chops by inking Landry to a comparatively low-priced deal.
Landry was exactly what the doctor ordered, as the Warriors were looking for an extra frontcourt body, someone who could provide toughness and a strong defensive ability.
The Warriors didn’t expect center Andrew Bogut to take so long to heal from his ankle injury, but Landry provided the microwave touch of a quick offensive punch as he rotated with David Lee.
Landry shot 54 percent from the field in his one year with the Warriors, averaging 10.8 PPG, 6.0 RPG and 0.8 APG. In the playoffs, he brought it just as strong—as he had to fill in for an injured David Lee—and the team advanced to the second round.
Landry decided not to accept the second-year option in his contract and leveraged his skills into a four-year, $26 million deal with the Sacramento Kings. He will have the chance to continue his relationship with ex-Warriors assistant, now Kings head coach, Mike Malone.
2. Andre Iguodala
Andre Igoudala has not even played a regular-season game with the Golden State Warriors, but his signing signifies that the Warriors are now playing with the big boys. Iguodala possesses a lot of the qualities the team was missing and has been called a Swiss Army knife because he is so adept at doing everything on the floor.
He can dominate on offense beyond just a scoring. He can get the ball to teammates, move effectively without the ball and he has great court vision. He is also their de facto backup point guard with the departure of Jarrett Jack, and he has some moves that will dazzle opponents.
Iggy ranked third in assists at the shooting guard position with 5.4 per game, behind only Kobe Bryant and James Harden. With his dynamic style of play, he will open lanes for not only guards Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, but the front line too.
The key to the acquisition is that Iggy is a selfless player who will do whatever it takes to win. He is also one of the best defenders in the league and will probably team up with Thompson to make one of the stronger perimeters in the Association.
1. Rick Barry
The No. 1 free-agent signing by the Warriors is the player who was key in leading them to their last NBA Championship. He began his career with the San Francisco Warriors, but after a sojourn in the ABA, returned to the Dubs via free agency.
In his second tour of duty with the Warriors, he put up some gaudy scoring numbers and led the NBA in free-throw shooting percentage four times. During their championship season of 1974-75, Barry led the league in steals with 2.9 per game as a small forward.
Barry put all of his talents together with a solid roster that included the likes of Clifford Ray, Phil Smith and Jamaal Wilkes to upset and sweep the heavily-favored Washington Bullets in the NBA Finals. Barry was the best player on the court and earned the 1975 NBA Finals MVP Award.
His gritty, never-take-no-for-an-answer attitude fueled the fire for that team. He was a perennial All-Star with the Warriors upon his return and earned three consecutive All-NBA First Team selections starting after the conclusion of the 1973-74 season.
The Golden State Warriors retired his jersey, No. 24, on March 18, 1988 to go along with other Warriors greats. He was the last player to have been honored from that era, and his jersey was the last one retired until Chris Mullin received the honor in 2012.
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