Dubs' 2020-21 season among best turnarounds in franchise history


The Warriors made a significant turnaround last season and are poised to make another one in 2021-21.

After an injury-riddled 2019-20 season ended with a 15-50 record, Steph Curry and Co. rattled off 39 wins en route to the eighth-best record in the Western Conference in 2020-21. While the season ended with a Play-In Tournament exit on their home floor, the Warriors can make a more important jump in 2021-22. With Klay Thompson’s long-awaited return, Andre Iguodala back in the fold and two rookie lottery selections, the Warriors can be a serious contender.

Such turnarounds have happened throughout Warriors history. Whether it was climbing from the NBA cellar or making the leap to a title threat, the franchise has seen some significant year-over-year improvements.

Here’s a look at how the Warriors have improved on prior disappointments, as well as the biggest year-to-year comebacks in franchise history.

What was the worst season in Warriors history?

The 15-win 2019-20 season is the second-lowest total in franchise history. Back in 1952-53, the Philadelphia Warriors went just 12-57, giving the franchise its worst win total and winning percentage (.174) of all time. The team followed that up with 17 more wins in the ensuing season.

The Warriors’ worst record in an 82-game season came in 2000-01. After going 17-65, the Dubs landed the No. 5 pick in the 2001 NBA Draft. They used that selection on the high-flying Jason Richardson, but their record only improved to 21-61 in his rookie season. The team finally reached the postseason in 2007 and embarked on one of the most iconic playoff runs in franchise history.

What was the Warriors’ best one-year turnaround in history?

Golden State has a pair of 24-win turnarounds in franchise history, though both deserve asterisks. The first one came last season with Curry’s return after a COVID-19-shortened campaign. The other one came in 2012-13, where the team went 47-35 after going 23-43 in a lockout-shortened 2011-12 season.

The biggest jump from one 82-game season to another came in 1988-89. Don Nelson took over as head coach and helped turn a 20-62 team in 1987-88 into a 43-39 team. The 23-win shift helped the team reach the second round of the playoffs.

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