I was in the kitchen a couple nights ago with the radio on when I heard the latest Warriors catastrophe. In a year where season-ending injuries have been as plentiful as wins, the pain in Tim Roye’s voice was evident as Monta Ellis writhed in pain on the floor, clutching his knee.
Whether Ellis sits for a week or never comes back this year, the question keeps popping into my head: is this the worst Warriors team we’ve ever seen?
While Monta’s been playing at an All-Star level (statistically anyway, and that’s if you ignore all the turnovers), Corey Maggette’s been incredibly efficient on offense and Stephen Curry somehow gets better every month even though he’s playing more minutes almost every night, the feeling around this team is utterly toxic. The trio of Chris Cohan, Robert Rowell and Don Nelson have sucked the air out of an entire basketball-loving community, driving thousands of people who’ve never actually seen ice on the ground to start pretending they’re hockey experts.
But this is the Warriors we are talking about. Even though the Warriors are 14-37 (and enjoying the best game of their lives against the Clippers as I write this — no Monta or Maggette in the lineup and they’re just fine), they aren’t the worst Warriors squad of all time. They aren’t the worst Golden State Warriors. Sadly, this season’s squad isn’t even the worst Golden State Warriors team of the past decade. But they’re up there.
The 10 Worst Golden State Warriors teams of all-time (since I’m guessing no one reading this saw the SF or Philly Warriors play):
10. 1994-95 (Coaches: Don Nelson: 14-31; Bob Lanier: 12-25)
Record: 27-55 | SRS*: -4.91
(*Simple Rate System: a team rating that takes into account average point differential and strength of schedule. The rating is denominated in points above/below average, where zero is average.)
Top 6 (total minutes played): Latrell Sprewell, Tim Hardaway, Keith Jennings, Clifford Rozier, Chris Gatling and David Wood.
One player you forgot was on this team (who’ll make you smile, slowly shake your head and fully remember how and why this team sucked): Manute Bol
One-sentence summary: A decent team physically but a broken team mentally, thanks to the exceedingly nasty Nellie/C-Webb divorce.
9. 2008-09 (Coach: Nelson)
Record: 31-51 | SRS: -3.80
Top 6: Kelenna Azubuike, Stephen Jackson, Jamal Craword, C.J. Watson, Andris Biedrins and Ronny Turiaf.
One player you forgot: Rob Kurz
One-sentence summary: No star, but plenty of talent that Nellie completely squandered with a mixture of bitterness and apathy.
8. 2009-10 (Coach: Keith Smart Nelson)
Record: 14-37 | SRS: -4.39 (before tonight’s blowout win over the Clip-joint)
Top 6: Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry, Corey Maggette, Anthony Morrow, C.J. Watson and Radmanovic.
One player you forgot (yes, already): Coby Karl
One-sentence summary: The vision of a Curry/Randolph tandem, with owner Larry Ellison watching from his courtside seat, is the only thing keeping fans going right now.
7. 1996-97 (Coach: Rick Adelman)
Record: 30-52 | SRS: -4.90
Top 6: Latrell Sprewell, Joe Smith, Chris Mullin, Mark Price, Felton Spencer and Bimbo Coles.
One player you forgot: Ray Owes
One-sentence summary: Once Todd Fuller was drafted before the season, Sprewell’s Warriors career was a lock to be squandered.
6. 2001-02 (Coaches: Dave Cowens: 8-15; Brian Winters: 13-46)
Record: 21-61 | SRS: -4.80
Top 6: Antawn Jamison, Jason Richardson, Danny Fortson, Larry Hughes, Bob Sura and Erick Dampier.
One player you forgot: Dean Oliver
One-sentence summary: Replacing Dave Cowens with Brian Winters is like replacing Colin Farrell with Bill Paxton.
5. 1984-85 (Coach: Johnny Bach)
Record: 22-60 | SRS: -7.21
Top 6: Purvis Short, Sleepy Floyd, Jerome Whitehead, Larry Smith, Lester Conner and Mickey Johnson.
One player you forgot: Gary Plummer (no, not THAT Gary Plummer … as far as we know)
One-sentence summary: This is where the teams start getting really bad, but pretty impressive that only 13 players saw any floor-time all season (in comparison, this year the Warriors have played 19 guys).
4. 1999-00 (Coaches: P.J. Carlesimo: 6-21; Garry St. Jean: 13-42)
Record: 19-63 | SRS: -7.62
Top 6: Mookie Blaylock, Jason Caffey, Donyell Marshall, Vonteego Cummings, Adonal Foyle and Antawn Jamison.
One player you forgot: Tim Young
One-sentence summary: P.J. + St. Jean + 23 players used … no wonder the Warriors were last in the league in attendance this year.
3. 1987-88 (Coaches: George Karl: 16-48; Ed Gregory: 4-14)
Record: 20-62 | SRS: -8.38
Top 6: Rod Higgins, Winston Garland, Ben McDonald, Chris Mullin, Tellis Frank and Otis Smith.
One player you forgot: (tie) Chris Washburn and Kermit Washington
One-sentence summary: The Warriors’ version of the twin towers didn’t work when Ralph Sampson and Joe Barry Carroll combined to play only 43 games.
2. 2000-01 (Coach: Cowens)
Record: 17-65 | SRS: -8.11
Top 6: Antawn Jamison, Mookie Blaylock, Larry Hughes, Bob Sura, Vonteego Cummings and Adonal Foyle.
One player you forgot: Chris Porter
One-sentence summary: It’s a sad year for the Warriors when Adonal (5.9 ppg) outscores Mullin (5.8 ppg).
1. 1997-98 (Coach: Carlesimo)
Record: 19-63 | SRS: -9.20
Top 6: Erick Dampier, Donyell Marshall, Tony Delk, Joe Smith, Muggsy Bogues and Bimbo Coles.
One player you forgot: Dickey Simpkins
One-sentence summary: Latrell Sprewell choked Peej, and the Warriors were left with Muggsy, Bimbo and a ton of Bulls castoffs.
The moral of the story: it could be worse. The Warriors have a few young pieces that could either be traded for something good or at least cap space, and Ellison is circling like the world’s most beautiful, bearded vulture. And as we learned tonight, at least the Warriors aren’t the Clippers. Otherwise this top-10 list would have been REALLY depressing, instead of only kind of depressing.