On June 25, 2009, the Golden State Warriors drafted Steph Curry. Ten years and 16 days later, the Oklahoma City Thunder traded Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets. With that move, Curry moved to second in the NBA for longest tenure with his current team. The only player he sits behind is Udonis Haslem, though that feels like a technicality. At this point, Haslem is essentially an assistant coach for the Miami Heat, having appeared in just 43 games and played fewer than 300 minutes over the last four seasons combined.
During his time in the Bay Area, 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, one a day, over the course of three months.
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.
To see all of the rankings thus far, you can click on the “Ranking Steph’s teammates” tag at the top of the article.
#94 — Anderson Varejão
Games: 36 (64th out of 106)
Points per game: 2.1 (T-92nd out of 106)
Rebounds per game: 2.1 (T-67th out of 106)
Assists per game: 0.7 (T-71st out of 106)
I’ll tell you one thing: Steve Kerr takes umbrage with Anderson Varejão being ranked so low on this list. Kerr liked — and trusted — Varejão to a fault, and you could certainly make the case that the Golden State Warriors would have won the 2016 championship had Kerr not played Varejão so much in the NBA Finals.
It’s hard not to feel sorry for Varejão, who had a tremendously unlucky career, in terms of winning championships. He made his NBA debut in the 2004-05 season for the Cleveland Cavaliers, when LeBron James was in just his second year. He developed into a key member of a lot of Cavs teams, and made the NBA Finals in 2007, only to get swept by the San Antonio Spurs.
Eventually James left Cleveland, but Varejão hung around through the rebuild. James returned for the 2014-15 season, and Varejão was still there. The Cavs were considered by many to be the championship favorites that season, but met the Warriors in the Finals, and ultimately lost in six games, with many in Cleveland believing that injuries to Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving cost them the title.
Varejão started the 2015-16 season in Cleveland — his 12th straight season with the Cavs. But at the trade deadline he was sent to the Portland Trail Blazers, who waived him.
He then signed with the Warriors, who were overwhelming title favorites in the midst of setting the NBA record for wins in a regular season. It seemed like his time had come.
We all know what happened. The Cavs — the team Varejão started the season with — overcame a 3-1 deficit in the Finals to beat the Warriors.
Another heartbreaking runner-up finish for Varejão.
He re-signed with Golden State for the 2016-17 season, and the Warriors reloaded with Kevin Durant, making them the prohibitive title favorites once more. This time they would finish the job, going 16-1 in what was arguably the most dominant postseason run in league history, and winning a championship (against the Cavs, no less).
But there was one problem: The Warriors had waived Varejão in February.
In fairness, Varejão did get a championship ring for that season, so his memorabilia closet has some bling, and the history books will always show him as a champion. But even so, losing three titles — including one to your future team, and one to your past team that you started the year on — just to get waived by the only champion you’d play, for is a historically great case of the runner-ups.
As for his actual play with Curry and the Warriors? Well, it wasn’t good. He was a trusted veteran, but he could no longer play well. His defense was okay, but he made just 41.9% of his shots while with the Warriors, which is a spectacularly low number for a center.
He had a good career. Just not a particularly good Warriors career.
But the ring counts just the same.