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5 Warriors that could have been

Published by Axel on 10th December - 00:38 (CET)
In the midst of all the praise the Golden State Warriors are getting at the moment, I felt it could be healthy to even the score a bit. I can't say much bad about their on court performances, being that they may be the best team ever and all, but I can list five draft picks they probably regret. So take that, Warriors!
Picked 8th overall in the 1997 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors.

Adonal Foyle truly was a dominating center in his youth. After playing some high school ball for Cardinal O'Hara Catholic High in Springfield, Pennsylvania, he transferred to Hamilton Central School in New York. In the NYSPHSAA Class D semifinals in 1994, Foyle had an incredible game with 47 points and 25 rebounds, still tied for the most in any state tournament game for both categories. He also helped the HCS Emerald Knights win their first state championship that year.

Later that year, Foyle enrolled to Colgate University where he had three successful seasons, earning the Patriot League Player of the Year award two years in a row. In 1997 he also got selected to the AP All-American Third-team and the USBWA All-American Second-team. When Foyle graduated, he left as the NCAA's all-time leader in blocks, despite not playing a fourth year.

In the NBA, Foyle was a good rebounder and an even better shot blocker, but no matter how many shots he blocked he was still a weak player offensively, only averaging 4.1 points per game during his career.
Still, Foyle managed to stay with the Warriors for 10 seasons. In July, 2004 the Warriors even re-signed Foyle to a 6-year contract worth $42 million. Interesting choice seeing Foyle only averaged 4.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, 0.6 assists and 1.8 blocks in 18.8 minutes per game during his first 7 years with the team. In August, 2007, the Warriors waived Foyle with three years and $29.2 million left on that contract.

Foyle rounded up his career with the Magics and short one-game stint with the Grizzlies. During his 12 year long career, he played 733 regular season games, averaging 4.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.4 steals and 1.6 blocks per game while shooting .477 from the field and .499 from the line. A long career for sure, perhaps not worthy of a 8th pick though, especially as the player who was picked with the 9th picked is named Tracy McGrady. I get it though, the Warriors wanted another center as the weren't entirely happy with the one they drafted in the year before. Which brings us to the next player on the list.
Picked 11th overall in the 1996 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors.

Before getting drafted to the NBA, Todd Fuller played four years of college ball at North Carolina State. Having a very impressive senior season, Fuller averaged an ACC high 20.9 points per game to go along with 9.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocks while shooting .506 from the field.

Apparently this was enough to draft Fuller with the 11th overall pick in 1996 over Kobe Bryant. Granted Bryant may have refused to play for the Warriors as he did with the Hornets, there was another player picked with the 15th pick named Steve Nash. Okay, so they wanted a big man. Well, Peja Stojaković, Jermaine O'Neal and Žydrūnas Ilgauskas were all picked within the next 9 picks after Fuller.

I'm going to make this short, just as Fuller's NBA career which only lasted four seasons and 225 games. During those games he averaged 3.7 points, 3.0 rebounds, 0.2 assists, 0.2 steals and .03 blocks per game while shooting .422 from the field. Unfortunately bad enough to label him as one of the worst lottery picks in a long time.
Picked 1st overall in the 1995 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors.

Joe Smith was another big man college phenom. Playing for the University of Maryland he had instant success and got selected to the First-team All-ACC, the UPI All-American Third-team and won the ACC Rookie of the Year award in 1994. Smith's sophomore season was even more impressive as he ended up winning numerous awards. Again he was selected to the First-team All-ACC, but better up he was also a Consensus first-team All-American, the ACC Player of the Year, the UPI College Player of the Year, the AP Player of the Year and the Naismith College Player of the Year. During his two years in college, Smith averaged 20.2 points, 10.7 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.5 steals and 3.0 blocks per game while shooting .551 from the field, .423 from three and .738 from the line.

You get it, at the time this guy was it. The Warriors certainly thought so as they selected him with first overall pick in 1995. Of the first five picks in that year's draft, four of them were power forwards. Except for Smith, Antonio McDyess was picked 2nd, Rasheed Wallace 4th and Kevin Garnett 5th. Picked 3rd was none other than Jerry Stackhouse.

Smith started of his NBA career really good as he averaged 15.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.6 blocks per game while being selected to the NBA All-Rookie First Team in his rookie season.
He bumped his scoring even further to 18.7 points per game in his sophomore season. During his third season however, Smith made it clear that he wanted to move back to the east coast. The Warriors subsequently traded him to Philadelphia in the middle of the season before his contract ran out. After this, Smith's career took multiple weird turns as he in order jumped through the following teams: 76ers, Timberwolves, Pistons, Timberwolves, Bucks, Nuggets, 76ers, Bulls, Cavaliers, Thunder, Hawks, Nets and lastly the Lakers before retiring from the NBA in 2011.

After leaving the Warriors, Smith never averaged more than 13.7 points per game but still stayed in the league long enough to play 1030 regular season games with an average of 10.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.6 steals and 0.8 blocks in 26.2 minutes per game. Smith currently holds the NBA record for most teams played for.
Picked 3rd overall in the 1986 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors.

Chris Washburn played high school ball for Laurinburg Institute in his native North Carolina and became a top three high school recruit playing as a center. He opted to play college ball at the North Carolina State University where he averaged 16.4 points and 6.6 rebounds per game over two seasons. Despite his solid numbers, Washburn had problems off the court as he got sentenced to 46 hours in jail, a five-year suspended prison term and five years of probation for stealing a stereo.

After leaving the NCSU, Washburn was selected with the 3rd overall pick in 1986, a draft which is notable for holding the record for the most players out of the chosen prospects who later debuted in the NBA, with 66 of them. Some of the selected players were Brad Daugherty, Ron Harper, Johnny Dawkins, Dell Curry, Scott Skiles, Arvydas Sabonis, Mark Price, Dennis Rodman, Kevin Duckworth and Jeff Hornacek.

Another thing notable about the 1986 NBA Draft is that it's called " The Cocaine Draft". With the second pick of that year's draft the Boston Celtics selected Len Bias, who tragically died in a cocaine overdose just two days after being drafted. Other players getting in trouble with drug related issues were the 6th picked William Bedford, the 7th picked Roy Tarpley and of course the 3rd picked Chris Washburn. That's four out of the first seven picks...

In Washburn's case, he himself admitted to having a cocaine problem and checked into a drug rehabilitation clinic in January, during his rookie season. After showing no signs of improvements after rejoining the team, Washburn was traded to the Hawks where he played 10 games before receiving a lifetime ban by the NBA in June, 1989 after failing three drug tests in three years. After leaving the NBA, Washburn moved to Houston where he claims to have lived in abandoned buildings and crack houses while eating out of the garbage. Today, he is free of his drug habits and has moved back to North Carolina.

During the very short span of Washburn's NBA career, he played 72 games averaging 3.1 points, 2.4 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 0.2 steals and 0.2 blocks per game while shooting .412 from the field and .439 from the line.
Picked 1st overall in the 1980 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors.

Yet another center! This time 7-feet tall Joe Barry Carroll. Carroll played four years of college ball for Purdue in the Big Ten. During those years he got selected to the All-Big Ten First-team twice and became a Third-team All-American and a Consensus first-team All-American. Carroll averaged 17.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game while shooting .546 from in field goal percentage during his college career.

This impressed the Warriors so much that they traded NBA legend Robert Parish and the rights to the third pick in that years draft to get Carroll. That third pick eventually turned in to NBA legend Kevin McHale.

Don't get me wrong, Carroll actually turned into a fantastic player. In his rookie season he was selected to the NBA All-Rookie First Team and played four years with the Warriors before he to the surprise of many moved to Italy to win the Italian League Championship and the FIBA Korac Cup with Simac Milano, only to rejoin the Warriors in before the very next season. He was even better in his second stint with the Warriors and even got selected to the All-Star game in 1987 before getting traded to the Rockets in the beginning of the '87–'88 season. During Carroll's 705 games with the Warriors he averaged 20.4 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.7 blocks per game. After leaving the Warriors, Carroll played for the Rockets, the Nets, the Nuggets and the Suns all in four years before leaving the NBA.

Just as some of the player mentioned above, Carroll is sometimes labeled as a bust, which is completely unfair. The reason he is on this list is that the Warriors gave up two players who formed a dynasty in Boston, sharing 7 championships, 16 All-Star performances, 6 All-Defensive selections, 2 Sixth Man of the Year awards and 3 All-NBA selections in between them. With 1,611 games, Robert Parish also happened to become the player who still leads the NBA in games played. Both of them are inducted into the Hall of Fame. This for a player nicknamed 'Joe Barely Cares'.


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