Top 10 Scorers in Golden State Warriors' History
Ah the Golden State Warriors- arguably the NBA’s most hated franchise at the moment (though that may change if the Los Angeles Lakers get all three of LeBron James, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard). Yet, that wasn’t always the story of the Warriors.
For thirty-four years between 1975 and 2009, they were among the most inept franchises in the NBA. They made bad draft choice after bad draft choice while wasting their cap space on ineffective players and making horrible trades (notably trading away NBA legends Kevin Mchale and Robert Parish). That changed when they drafted Stephen Curry, and the rest is history.
Nonetheless, before 1975, the Warriors were among the most successful franchises in the NBA, only behind the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers. Originally playing in Philadelphia, the Warriors won two championships between 1946 and 1956, led by the likes of Paul Arizin and Neil Johnston.
In 1959, the franchise drafted a center named Wilt Chamberlain. After a few rollicking years when Wilt dominated but the team struggled, the Warriors were bought by new ownership and moved to San Francisco.
Soon Wilt was traded away for a treasure trove of talent to the new team in Philadelphia: the 76ers. Yet, the Warriors soon got a new star: the equally enigmatic Rick Barry. Despite tensions with the team that temporarily jeopardized his stay in the NBA, Barry would eventually lead the Warriors to a title.
Thus, one can see the exceptional history of the franchise. The team has seen the best inside scorer in NBA history (Chamberlain), the best shooter in NBA history (Curry) and one of the best versatile scorers in the league’s history (Barry). So who are the top 10 leading scorers in Warriors History?
Note: All Stats are courtesy of Basketball-Reference.
#10 Neil Johnston- 10,023 Points
One of the most underrated players in NBA history, Johnston was one of the superstars of the 1950s. At 6’8, Johnston was a center in the early days of the NBA (before the advent of 7 foot behemoths)- it's funny how the Warriors are back to that point with Draymond Green.
Johnston, well known for his deadly hook shot, won the scoring title in three consecutive seasons from 1952-1955. The Ohio native was also extremely efficient as he ranked 1st in field goal percentage on three different occasions.
Like any traditional center, Johnston’s rebounding numbers were also incredibly impressive as he averaged 11.3 rebounds throughout his stellar career.
While advanced statistics were half a century away in the 1950s, in retrospect, Johnston’s career was just as impressive when looked at through analytical methods. The center finished 1st in win shares for five consecutive seasons as he dominated the NBA.
The NBA only started awarding the MVP after the 1955-56 season- by which point Johnston’s performance had begun to decline. Indeed, Johnston would have likely won the award in the previous three seasons as he helped the Warriors dominate the mid-1950s.