In the last decade, the Golden State Warriors have seen a lot of players come and go. There have been a lot of mediocre players but also a fair amount of good and even great ones that blessed the franchise with their skills.
Now to be fair, the team hasn’t necessarily enjoyed the best of times as evidenced by the one playoff appearance in the past 10 years, but the Warriors have still had guys that made a lasting mark on the team.
Thus, the Warriors World staff decided to vote on the best players to don a Dubs jersey in the past decade and the end result is now a countdown that will be titled #DecadeDubs, discussing the 10 best Warriors players of the past decade.
10. Matt Barnes
At first glance, it seems awfully weird to have a bench player make the cut and pop up this high. Indeed, the former Bruin played two seasons in a Warriors uniform and appeared in 149 games, while starting in 41 of them.
Barnes was an average shooter at best and averaged a mere 8.3 points per game in his time in the Bay, which quite frankly isn’t all that impressive considering his rank.
Mind you, Matt Barnes brought something to the table that Golden State absolutely needed during his time with the team: an edge.
For the longest time, the Golden State Warriors were at the bottom of the Western Conference standings given their inability to consistently produce wins. The team always had some talent, but the roster often made little sense as players failed to complement each other.
By the 2006-07 regular season though, things had changed as the team finally had players that played together and competed. Matt Barnes joined the Dubs that season and came in with a chip on his shoulder. He might have followed some of the veterans’ lead, but he also played hard and always brought the intensity.
He got out on the break and finished, provided some timely shooting and defended like a mad man. Seriously, Barnes may not have been a great defender in Golden State, but he was an effective one that relied on his foot speed and long arms to defend small forwards as well as some power forwards.
He liked to occasionally attempt to create his own shots, something that he was not necessarily adept at, but whenever defenses ignored him and he did as such, he could catch them when they fell asleep guarding him.
His regular season numbers were rather pedestrian, but his contributions helped the team make the playoffs, where he raised his game and earned himself some additional minutes.
The Dubs entered the 2007 playoffs as the eighth seed and took on the top seeded Dallas Mavericks (67-15), with Golden State needing Barnes to provide some energy off the bench, defense and scoring if possible.
To the surprise of many, Barnes took turns defending and bothering then league MVP Dirk Nowitzki and shadowing him on the perimeter and in the post. The UCLA product was physical and never backed down from the challenge.
He was unquestionably a game changer for Golden State during the 2007 playoffs, producing 11.7 points per game and 5.7 rebounds per game on 45 percent field goal shooting and 42.2 percent 3-point field goal shooting.
Indeed, by the time the postseason rolled around, Barnes morphed into a great dead eye shooter that made defenses pay for leaving him open.
The Dubs were eventually eliminated in the second round of the playoffs by the Utah Jazz, but Barnes’ performance that season as well as the following one helped cement his status the NBA — he had bounced around some previously — as well as his importance to the franchise, albeit for a mere two seasons.
Questions or comments? Feel free to leave them in the comments section or you can contact me by email at JM.Poulard@Warriorsworld.net.