12 Players who turned their back on the Golden State Warriors

Draymond Green and Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors
Draymond Green and Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages
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8. John Lucas

When Rick Barry left the Warriors in 1972 to join the Houston Rockets, the NBA awarded Golden State a young guard named John Lucas II as compensation. Lucas had finished second in Rookie of the Year voting and joined a Warriors team trying to find its way in the absence of Barry.

Things started off well for Lucas, who averaged 16.1 points and 9.3 assists for the Warriors in his third season in the league. The following year he had a smaller role but was still very productive for a bad Warriors team.

It was his third season with the Warriors where things went off the rails. Lucas, who was secretly dealing with an addiction to cocaine, began missing practices, plane trips and even games. His behavior became erratic, his level of play cratered, and he had the worst season of his career...at least, to that point.

The Warriors suspended him and declined the option on his contract, freeing him to sign with any team in the league. He would try to balance his addition and basketball for years, mostly unsuccessfully, before finally overcoming his demons and becoming an advocate for other athletes struggling with addictions. He has had a long and successful coaching career.

Lucas wasn't able to help the Warriors and his secret addiction hurt both the team and Lucas. It's great to hear that he got his life back on track, as many of his peers did not manage to do the same.