Here’s a confession: I never liked former Golden State Warriors power forward Troy Murphy. It was nothing personal, I just didn’t think he played the right way. He was a numbers guy, always angling for rebounds and never playing good help defense. He had legitimate power forward size, but totally lacked a post-up game. But that was years ago. I’m more mature now and more capable of giving an unbiased analysis of the Warriors’ eighth-best player since 2000. Even if I still hate him.
Drafted by the Warriors out of Notre Dame with the No. 14 pick in 2001, Murphy arrived in Golden State with a pretty solid cast of draft-mates. Jason Richardson and Gilbert Arenas also joined the Warriors that same season. While he didn’t impress in his rookie campaign, Murphy did show he could do a few things well in his subsequent four and-a-half seasons in Golden State.
Among his notable skills were an ability to shoot the three—just a tick under 40 percent in 2004-05—and rebound. Murphy averaged better than 10 boards per game in three different seasons for the Warriors.
Murphy was fairly limited offensively, especially in the post. He made a decent living on jumpers as a power forward, averaging double figures in every year after his rookie season.
As I mentioned, Murphy’s defensive apathy was a problem, but many of the Warriors teams he was on were so systemically bad on the defensive end that his shortcomings blended right in. There’s really no statistic to show it (David Lee is probably glad of this fact), but Murphy constantly sacrificed help defense to preserve a good rebounding angle on missed shots. That’s a great way to pile up rebounds, but not the best tactic for winning basketball.
Murphy, like Mike Dunleavy, represents a mediocre player who’s on this list because the Warriors simply haven’t had a ton of talent since 2000. But, also like Dunleavy, Murphy was part of the deal that led to the fleeting glory of the “We Believe” playoff run—so he gets a little bump up the rankings for that.
On final note: Murphy had his best career season for the Indiana Pacers in 2008-09, averaging 14.6 points and 11.8 rebounds per game, while shooting an amazing 45 percent from beyond the arc. He continued a long and storied trend of players escaping the Warriors during the 2000s and subsequently posting career-best numbers.
Troy Murphy is not often missed, especially by me, but he deserves a spot on this list for being one of the Warriors’ better frontcourt scorers and rebounders since 2000.