Though common perception may often suggest otherwise, the Golden State Warriors are among the most tenured, storied franchises in the NBA. Those stories may not always inspire joyous memories, but in the franchise’s 68 years of existence some positivity has permeated through the unfortunate history of the franchise. To use a Bill Simmons style logical progression, take a look at the Warriors wikipedia page. When a periods of team history are designated “A period of struggles” and “the Garry St. Jean Era,” you know something went wrong. So, how was that for a Simmons impersonation? I’m sure it needs work, but the only glaring holes an eighties movie reference and a “Because any time you can … you gotta do it” joke. To be fair, Simmons, prompted by the booing of Joe Lacob at Chris Mullins’ jersey retirement, did write an interesting piece on the history of unfortunate events that have befallen the Warriors.
In any event, the Warriors history is marked with several excellent individual seasons. “Best” is an inherently subjective term, and individual is ambiguous as a specific designation, but, through Warriors history, one player stands out. Through five and a half seasons with the Philadelphia and San Francisco Warriors from 1959 to 1965, one Wilton Chamberlain averaged about 41.5 points per game, leading the NBA in minutes for five seasons, in minutes for five, in rebounds for four, and in minutes for 6. In 1961-62, Chamberlain submitted what may be the greatest statistical season ever, scoring 50.4 points per game while grabbing 25.7 rebounds. Each of Chamberlains’ seasons as a Warriors is likely more dominant than any other Warriors could attempt to match.
However, the Big Dipper was not the only star in Warriors’ history (Don’t leave now folks…I’ll be here all night!). In 1966-67, Rick Barry, in his second year in the league, led the NBA in scoring at 35.6 points per game. Like Barry, Warriors legend Nate Thurmond has a few impressive seasons. In 1966-67, while Barry was putting up his gaudy numbers, Thurmond scored 18.7 points and amassed 21.3 rebounds per game. Back in 1955-56, Neil Johnston scored 21.5 points per game and led the league in field goal percentage, leading the franchise to its second championship. As we approach modern times, players like Chris Mullins, Tim Hardaway, and Baron Davis begin to stand out. Just last year Stephen Curry had a year season worth remembering, breaking the record for most three pointers in a season, shooting the Warriors to a first round playoff victory over the Denver Nuggets, and establishing himself as one of the league’s top point guards. Though 50.4 points per game may be slightly less than feasible, here’s to hoping Curry, Iguodala, and the rest of the Warriors can add to this list.