Golden State Warriors: 15 greatest draft steals in franchise history

Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Tim Hardaway, Golden State Warriors
Tim Hardaway, Golden State Warriors. (Photo by Brad Mangin/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Can you believe that 13 teams passed up on UTEP point guard Tim Hardaway in the 1989 NBA Draft? Boy, do those teams look foolish now, especially when factoring in the players they took before him.

Pervis Ellison? Danny Ferry? Pooh Richardson? Stacey King? These were just some of the mediocre-at-best names that teams felt would help them win games more than Hardaway, though there were some solid names among that bunch (Glen Rice, Nick Anderson, Mookie Blaylock, Sean Elliott).

Those teams’ loss was the Warriors’ gain, as they found a third star to pair with Chris Mullin and Mitch Richmond. On offense, Hardaway was a blur, as his lethal crossover and jet-fueled first step made it nearly impossible for any defender to stay in front of him.

This combined with his ability to finish around the rim made him extra deadly in transition. If defenses closed in on him, then he would simply use his underrated court vision to find an open man (usually Mullin or Richmond).

With Hardaway alongside Mullin and Richmond, the Warriors became an offensive dynamo — especially in 1990-91 and 1991-92, when the Warriors’ offense was 4.0 and 5.4 points per 100 possessions better than league average, respectively.

For his part, Hardaway averaged 23.2 points and 9.8 assists per game with a .469/.357/.784 shooting line in those two seasons. When you broaden the scope to his entire six-year run in Golden State, those numbers sag a bit to 19.8 points, 9.3 dimes per game and .455/.355/.768 shooting splits, not to mention .120 WS/48 (he would crank up his production once he was traded to the Miami Heat).

Since retiring, Hardaway has become a bit of a controversial figure for vile homophobic comments he made in 2007. Fortunately, he has significantly changed his stance and has become an advocate for LGBTQ rights, making it easier to enjoy him breaking defenders’ ankles.