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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Gus Williams, Golden State Warriors
Gus Williams, Golden State Warriors. (Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images) /

What was it with the Warriors giving up on 1975 NBA Draft picks. Granted, this wasn’t a pool filled with future stars, Oklahoma center Alvan Adams is arguably the most successful player in this draft and he was merely a decent, fringe All-Star player.

That being said, the players the Warriors selected were, at the bare minimum, solid contributors. In Gus Williams‘ case, Golden State could have had a borderline star.

Taken No. 20 overall — the second pick of the second round in that draft — Williams spent his only two seasons in Oakland, splitting point guard minutes with Charles Johnson and Charles Dudley. That, along with Rick Barry and Jamaal Wilkes’ presence on the roster, meant that scoring opportunities came few and far in between for the young floor general.

With a logjam in the backcourt, the Warriors let Williams test the free agent market, and he later signed with the then-Seattle SuperSonics. In Seattle, Williams flourished as the lead guard alongside Hall of Famers Dennis Johnson and Jack Sikma.

Earning the nickname “The Wizard” for his on-court exploits, Williams averaged 20.3 points and 6.0 assists per game with a 20.2 PER and .154 WS/48 in six seasons with the Sonics. He’s also remembered for his stellar play in the postseason, particularly during Seattle’s title run in 1979, where he averaged 26.7 points per game with .210 WS/48.

At the time, the Warriors probably thought they didn’t need Williams. After all, the team was fresh off an NBA Championship when they drafted him. But considering the rough waters that were ahead for them, they could have used a crafty, springy young point guard like Williams to steer them through.