Warriors still making rookie mistakes
Between 1988 and 1993, the Golden State Warriors drafted a future All-Star in the first round every year.
Chris Cohan took over as owner in 1994, and the team's drafting has suffered considerably, resulting in a volume approach to losing.
With the NBA draft mere hours away, here’s a look back at the Warriors’ first-round draft history under Cohan, ranked from most successful to largest trainwreck…
1. Jason Richardson (5th pick, 2001) – Only in Golden State could the top draft pick of the past 15 years be someone who made the playoffs exactly one time.
Such is life for the Warriors, who actually managed to do everything right with this pick. Richardson had everything you look for in a draft pick: he won an NCAA title with a big-time program, could jump out of the gym, and gave max effort every game.
For once, the Warriors were faced with a simple draft-day decision, and managed to avoid screwing it up. Around these parts, that qualifies as an unmitigated success.
2. Antawn Jamison (4th pick, 1998; acquired in trade) – Another sensible, low-risk pick for Golden State. After posting big scoring numbers his first few seasons, the Warriors rewarded Jamison with a max contract, making him overpaid as soon as pen hit paper.
Jamison was eventually traded to Dallas in the year 10 A.C. (after Cohan), which set events into motion which would change this franchise forever (or at least for two enjoyable seasons).
Jamison begat Nick Van Exel, who begat Dale Davis, who begat a fellow bearded Davis named Baron. Baron Davis begat the only two winning seasons the Warriors have known under Cohan, which begat one of the worst personnel blunders Cohan’s Warriors have ever made.
3. Joe Smith (1st pick, 1996) – “Average Joe” was only too appropriate a nickname for Smith, who played well for Golden State, but was far from a difference-maker.
Taken first overall, Smith will always be remembered for the players he was drafted ahead of: Rasheed Wallace and Kevin Garnett, both of whom went on to become NBA champions
4. Andris Biedrins (11th pick, 2004) – History celebrates those who bring us new inventions. Thomas Edison. Howard Hughes. The ShamWow guy. Andris Biedrins.
Before Biedrins showed up in 2004, Warriors fans believed it to be either impossible or illegal for a center to catch a basketball. Be it receiving a pass or securing a rebound, big men were supposed to fumble the ball at least twice before establishing possession.
Biedrins changed all that, establishing a new set of rules in the process. Not only was center no longer a position reserved for the clumsiest of players, it was now possible to use all five players on offense.
By flying in the face of conventional wisdom, Andris Biedrins presented Golden State with a new invention: the center as a useful player.