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Ranking all of Steph’s teammates: #51 — Festus Ezeli

A forever Warrior.

2016 NBA Finals - Game One Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

During his time with the Golden State Warriors, Steph Curry has had 106 teammates who have appeared in at least one game. Some played in exactly one game, while others played in hundreds. Some never actually played in a game that Curry was active for, while others formed historically great partnerships with him.

And I’m ranking all 106 of them before a new season starts and he adds to the tally. Better get a move on.

Players are ranked — and stats are shown — based only on their time as Curry’s teammate. How good/bad they were in other organizations doesn’t matter. How good/bad they were on pre-2009-10 Warriors teams doesn’t matter.

#51 — Festus Ezeli

2016 NBA Finals - Cleveland Cavaliers v Golden State Warriors Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

Games: 170 (14th out of 106)
Points per game: 4.2 (T-72nd out of 106)
Rebounds per game: 4.3 (28th out of 106)
Assists per game: 0.4 (T-84th out of 106)

I was stoked when the Warriors used the final first-round pick of the 2012 NBA Draft on Festus Ezeli. He was a defensive stud with a throwback center’s body. I thought that, under the tutelage of Andrew Bogut, he could develop into a really good center for years to come.

And he might have. Unfortunately, injuries come for many professional athletes, especially those who are knocking on the door of seven feet. And they came for Ezeli.

By his third and final year, the Vanderbilt product was starting to figure things out. He averaged 7.0 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game, despite limited minutes. If stretched out, that equated to 15.0 points, 12.0 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per 36 minutes, or 20.1 points, 16.1 rebounds, and 3.1 blocks per 100 possessions. By that point his offense was starting to catch up, and he graded out as only slightly below average on that end of the court in advanced metrics, after being dismal his first two years.

Ezeli left following the heartbreaking 2015-16 season, and signed a nice contract with the Portland Trail Blazers. But that’s when the injuries hit, and he never played a game for Portland before eventually retiring.

It was a sad end to a promising career. Ezeli had tremendous instincts on the defensive end, and backed it up with great strength. Had he kept developing offensively alongside Damian Lillard, perhaps he would have turned into a quality starter.

Warriors fans will have good memories. He was loved by teammates, contributed 9.2 minutes per night in the 2015 playoffs, when Golden State won the title, and was on the receiving end of Andre Iguodala’s largest prank.

Good Warrior.


What do you think of Festus Ezeli’s ranking?

This poll is closed

  • 44%
    He was better than #51
    (56 votes)
  • 48%
    #51 is about right
    (61 votes)
  • 7%
    He was worse than #51
    (9 votes)
126 votes total Vote Now

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