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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Latrell Sprewell, Golden State Warriors
Latrell Sprewell, Golden State Warriors. (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Ah, another inefficient, high-volume shooter. The top of the 1992 NBA Draft gave up Hall of Fame centers Shaquille O’Neal and Alonzo Mourning, but there were plenty of other useful guys throughout the first round, including Robert Horry, Doug Christie, Hubert Davis, Jon Barry and basketball’s resident pro wrestling heel, Christian Laettner.

In that vein, the Warriors also mined some value out of their late first-round pick, using the No. 24 overall spot to take Alabama Crimson Tide wing Latrell Sprewell. From the outset, Sprewell flashed his preternatural scoring skills, averaging 15.4 points per game in his freshman campaign with a .464/.369/.746 shooting line.

This trend essentially continued throughout Sprewell’s six-year stay with the Warriors, as he finished with a 20.1 scoring average, accompanied by a 52.1 true shooting percentage.

But, as was the case with Monta Ellis, Sprewell didn’t offer the Warriors much outside of inefficient shots, as his 16.0 PER and .084 WS/48 with the team suggest. He occasionally showed glimpses of defense and playmaking to buttress his bucket-making, but it was often few and far in between.

Along with his sign-of-the-times offensive skillset, Sprewell was also viewed as a bit of a head case, highlighted by his infamous altercation with then-Warriors head coach P.J. Carlesimo. That, combined with a bevy of other fights with teammates gave the Warriors all the ammunition they needed to void the rest of his contract, though it would get overturned in court, and trade him to the New York Knicks for John Starks, Terry Cummings and Chris Mills.

Still, Sprewell was a productive lead scorer for the Warriors in the wake of the “Run TMC” era. As some of the other picks in the 1992 NBA Draft after Shaq and ‘Zo showed, they could have done a lot worse.