Ranking the Best Frontcourt Players in Golden State Warriors History
The Golden State Warriors franchise has a rich history with three NBA championships, and some of the best frontcourt players in Warriors history played a major part. Names like Wilt Chamberlain and Rick Barry each won titles in different cities, and their legacies still live strong today.
The Warriors have had ample talent playing down on the blocks and solid small forwards who could move effectively away from the ball and hit jumpers. The combination of the 3, 4 and 5 positions made the Dubs a competitive team, save for the Chris Cohan years.
However, the greatness of the Warriors looks to be resurging with a talent-laden squad. Frontcourt players like Andrew Bogut, David Lee and Harrison Barnes are trying to make their mark.
This list is based on statistical averages over the seasons spent with the Warriors, contributions on the court and success of the team while wearing a Dubs uniform. Some players were close to making the list, but they did not have enough to qualify.
At the forefront of the list are those who played hard but did not have the skill level, overall tools or the total contribution to usurp a place in the final list of players.
Chris Webber—He was truly dominant as a rookie for the Warriors, and he was on pace to guide the team into title discussions. His 17.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game helped guide the Warriors to a 50-win season, but a scuffle with head coach Don Nelson sent him packing and left the Warriors moribund for 12 more seasons. He returned for nine insignificant games in 2007-08.
Antawn Jamison—He was the promising power forward out of the University of North Carolina who put up 50 points in back-to-back games during 2000. He averaged 24.9 points and 8.7 rebounds per game in his best season (2000-01), but he could never lead the team to the playoffs.
Purvis Short—He was known for his rainbow jumper and was one of the best scorers in Warriors history, as he went over the 50-point mark twice in 1984. He averaged over 20 points in four consecutive seasons with the Dubs and posted a career-high 28 points per game during the 1984-85 season.
9. Jamaal Wilkes, F
Jamaal Wilkes earned not only the Rookie of the Year award, but he also received a championship ring from the 1975 NBA championship squad. He was known for his smooth jumper and ability to be a team-first player.
He put up 14.2 points as a rookie and followed that with seasons of 17.8 and 17.7 points per game before jettisoning to the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agent. His ability to help the team produce in the playoffs earned him a spot on this list even though his run with the Warriors was short.
During his career with the Warriors, Wilkes earned an All-Star appearance and averaged 16.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.
8. Jeff Mullins, SF
Jeff Mullins had a solid career with the Warriors.
Jeff Mullins was a key factor for two of the most successful teams in franchise history, one of them which won the franchise's last NBA title. He played 10 years in a Warriors uniform and averaged more than 20 points during four straight seasons.
He earned three trips to the All-Star Game and averaged 17.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists for the Warriors. He was known for his collection of off-balance shots and leaners. It definitely helped him to be surrounded by such quality talent as Rick Barry and Nate Thurmond.
He ended his career with averages of 16.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game.
7. Robert Parish, C
Robert Parish is part of a major milestone in Warriors history. The Warriors were contenders until the ill-fated day when they traded Parish and the pick that was Kevin McHale to the Celtics for the pick that turned out to be Joe Barry Carroll.
Parish was picked eighth in the 1976 NBA draft and averaged 9.1 points and 7.1 rebounds as a rookie and 17 points, 10.9 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in his last season with the Warriors.
Parish ranked as high as he did because he would have been the building block for the Warriors to continue their 1970s dominance. He managed to win three titles and have his jersey retired in Boston, but he would have made the Warriors Western Conference favorites for many years.
At the end of his 21-year career, Parish finished with a line of 14.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game while also getting a fourth ring with the Chicago Bulls in 1997.
6. Neil Johnston, C
Neil Johnston was a center who knew how to shoot the ball, and as a result, he led the league in scoring three consecutive seasons between 1953-55. His famed shot was the sweeping hook from the pivot, and it made him one of the league’s most consistent scorers.
He was also a very good rebounder for his 6’8” size, as he won the rebounding title during the 1953-54 season. He also helped the Philadelphia Warriors secure their second league title in 1956.
His career with the Dubs was very impressive with six NBA All-Star appearances, four selections to the All-NBA First Team and three field-goal percentage titles to go along with his other titles.
His career numbers consist of 19.4 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game, all with the Warriors.
5. Paul Arizin, F
Paul Arizin was a key player in the earlier history of the Warriors and was known as one of the first to perfect the jump shot.
He was elected to the Hall of Fame all the way back in 1978, but he played for the Warriors from 1951-62. He was a 10-time All-Star and won the league MVP award in 1952. He was also a two-time NBA scoring champion.
Arizin led the Warriors to an NBA title in 1956, and the following year, he reached the 10,000-point mark faster than anybody in history at that date.
Arizin finished his career with averages of 22.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.
4. Chris Mullin, SF
Chris Mullin is a Hall of Famer and the best-known star from Run TMC. He started his career with the Warriors as a shooting guard but transitioned to small forward after his second season.
He had a scorer's mentality and could shoot the lights out with his smooth jumper, but Mullin was also a gritty player who always made the extra effort to finish a play.
Besides his shooting efficiency, Mullin was known to attack the lane, pass the ball and wear out defenders from nonstop movement without the ball. It didn’t help that he would play almost every minute of every game.
For his career, Mullin averaged 18.2 points, 3.5 assists and 4.1 rebounds, solidifying his position as one of the better all-around players in NBA history. He was known for his exemplary work ethic, setting the Warriors' franchise record for most games played.
3. Nate Thurmond, PF
Nate “The Great” Thurmond was mostly known for his aggressive rebounding and shot-blocking. He made his presence felt in the lane, both by himself and alongside center Wilt Chamberlain. Thurmond stood strong in his “The City” jersey during his time with the Warriors.
Thurmond spent 11 seasons with the Warriors and averaged 15 points, 15 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game during his career. Thurmond is a Hall of Famer, was a seven-time NBA All-Star and was named as one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history.
Thurmond still holds the record with 18 rebounds in one quarter. On top of that, he had the first NBA quadruple-double. He was known as a great passing big man and was one of the best screen-setters of all time.
2. Rick Barry, SF
Rick Barry was one of the all-time great wing players in NBA history and led the Warriors to their last NBA championship. His personality was as fiery as his play on the court, and he made sure he expressed it.
Barry was almost unstoppable on offense and was also famous for his eccentric free-throw shooting style, in which he shot the ball underhanded. That style netted him a career free-throw shooting percentage of 89.3 and allowed him to shoot over 90 percent in each of his last six years in the NBA.
Barry’s name appears near the top of almost every all-time offensive category. The Hall of Famer averaged 30 or more points per game twice, made eight All-Star teams and finished his career with over 16,000 points as a Warrior.
Barry was known for being a complete player, as he could shoot, move without the ball and defend. His career averages ended up being 24.8 points, 4.9 assists and 2.8 rebounds.
1. Wilt Chamberlain, C
Rick Barry is probably the most remembered Warrior, but the greatest frontcourt or any-court Warrior is Wilt Chamberlain.
Wilt was one of the most dominant centers, if not the most dominant, in NBA history. He is the only player to ever score 100 points in a game. He made 13 appearances in the NBA All-Star Game and won four NBA MVP awards.
Wilt’s career stat line speaks for itself: 30.1 PPG, 22.9 RPG and 4.4 APG.
He was a man among boys most nights and, in 1962, became the only player ever to score over 4,000 points in one season. That season, he averaged a measly 50.4 points and 25.7 rebounds per game.
Wilt had an awe-inspiring presence on the floor, as he was a seven-time league scoring champion and an 11-time rebounding champion.
He never played with the words "Golden State" scribbled across his chest, but his days in Philadelphia and San Francisco cement his legacy. He is also the Dubs' all-time leading scorer.