Warriors 10-Year Challenge: Remembering Golden State's 2008-09 season


A lot can change in a decade. Just ask the Warriors.

The 10-Year Challenge has been making the rounds on social media as of late, so it's a fitting time to look back on just how far the Dubs have come in the last decade. After all, prior to the current six-year streak of making the playoffs, the Warriors were known far more for their chronic dysfunction than they were for their dominance of the league.

The 2008-09 season marked the last one in which Steph Curry was starring at Davidson, and obviously, Curry's arrival drastically altered the trajectory of the franchise -- in due time.

Before his arrival, well, things were pretty bleak.

The 2008-09 Warriors went 29-53. For comparison, the 2018-19 Warriors are currently 29-14 and have a chance to re-take the No. 1 seed in the West Tuesday vs. Denver.

The 2008-09 Warriors got started off on the wrong foot -- or ankle, rather -- before the season even began.

Monta Ellis seriously injured his ankle in an offseason moped accident. Then he lied about it to the team. Then the Warriors suspended him for 30 games without pay.

Ellis didn't make his first appearance of the season until Jan. 23, a game the Warriors would ultimately lose to the Cavaliers on a LeBron James buzzer-beater to drop to 13-31 on the season.

Current Warriors analyst Kelenna Azubuike -- who appeared in 74 games and averaged 14.4 points per contest for those '08-'09 Warriors -- told NBC Sports Bay Area that his experience then has helped him put the more recent Warriors' accomplishments in proper perspective.

"I know how hard it is to have a good winning season, not to talk about as many as the Warriors have had in a row ... Obviously they're more talented than we were, but it's not just about talent.

"There was less room for error with us. Because if we didn't bring it, we were gonna get destroyed."

Stephen Jackson was the unquestioned alpha on the team, and led Golden State with an average of 20.1 points per contest in 59 games played. Current Phoenix Suns guard Jamal Crawford ranked second in scoring on that Warriors team, with an average of 19.7 points per game.

Center Andris Biedrins had arguably the best season of his career, averaging 11.9 points and 11.2 rebounds, shooting 57.8 percent from the field and 55.1 percent from the free throw line. He never shot better than 32.3 percent from the charity stripe in any future season.

Brandan Wright appeared in 39 games in his sophomore season, before missing the entire next year with a shoulder injury. Two Anthony's -- Randolph and Morrow -- offered the latest reasons for optimism.

The Warriors ultimately lost four of their final five games -- including the last two -- to finish the 2008-09 season with the seventh-worst record in the league at 29-53.

[RELATED: Why Steph Curry doesn't have his Davidson jersey retired]

That meant Golden State would be slotted seventh going into the lottery, a spot they maintained into the draft itself.

On June 25, 2009, the Warriors selected a skinny, sweet-shooting guard out of Davidson College with the seventh overall pick of the NBA draft.

"Everybody was aware of what he was doing at Davidson," Azubuike said of Curry. "We definitely knew about him and knew how exciting his game was. 

"So it was pretty cool when we got him, and then he just kind of took off from there. As soon as he got there, his work ethic was off the charts. And he was such a good dude."

10 years later, a whole lot has changed.

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