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Top 5 NBA Players from Iowa

Harrison Barnes
Credit: Nic Antaya/Getty Images

As of 2021, approximately 3,000,000 people live in Iowa. That puts Iowa as the 32nd most populated state in the United States. 3,000,000 sounds like a lot, but throughout the NBAs 75 year history, there have only been 23 NBA players from Iowa.

The first NBA player from Iowa was Murray Wier in the 1948 NBA Draft by the Fort Wayne Pistons. Wier would only play 56 NBA games before calling it quits. He averaged 7.7 points and 1.9 assists. Obviously, he was no All-Star, but at least Wier was an at-most decent starter. In addition, he had some cool nicknames: Rampaging Redhead and Wizard Wier.

We wouldn't see another NBA player from Iowa until 1972, 22 YEARS LATER! However, instead of going over all 23 NBA Players from Iowa, we're going to go over who I think are the Top 5 NBA Players from Iowa. The only requirement for the players on this list is that they must have played more than five seasons in the NBA.

Also, to be upfront, I was initially going to do a Top 10, but I didn't know 60% of the players, so instead, I ended up doing a Top 5.

Even then, the only two players I know a good amount about are Harrison Barnes and Nick Collison, and I still don't know who Kevin Kunnert is. Guess I'll find out while I'm writing this (and maybe you as well while you're reading this)!


Top 5 NBA Players from Iowa:


Harrison Barnes (Ames, Iowa)

Instead of starting from 5 to 1, I've decided to immeadietly start with who I think the best NBA player from Iowa is, Harrison Barnes. I'm also starting with Barnes because he's the player on this list I know the most about.

If Barnes is the best NBA player from Iowa, that just shows the state's lackluster NBA talent.

Golden State Warriors:

Although I just shit-talked Harrison Barnes, and although I think he is absurdly overpaid (4 year/$95,000,000), Barnes is an above-average NBA player. He was drafted seventh in the 2013 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors. In his first four seasons with the Warriors, Barnes averaged:

10.1 Points, 4.6 Rebounds, 1.5 Assists, 0.7 Steals, and 0.2 Blocks

44.6 FG%, 37.6 3P%, 73.9 FT%

28.1 Minutes

These numbers don't pop out at you, but in Barnes' defense, he was only in his first few seasons in the NBA. After all, it took his then-teammate, Stephen Curry, four years to be an All-Star! Also, Barnes would still be selected to the All-NBA Rookie First Team alongside players like Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, and Anthony Davis!

Continuing with the Warriors, while with the Warriors, Barnes would participate in the playoffs for each of the four seasons. His best post-season performance was during his rookie year. He averaged:

16.1 Points, 6.4 Rebounds, 1.3 Assists, 0.6 Steals, and 0.4 Blocks

44.4 FG%, 36.5 3P%, 85.7 FT%

38.4 Minutes

If there were an award for 'Most Surprising Playoff Performance,' it should have gone to Barnes in the 2012-2013 NBA Playoffs. Barnes was arguably the second-best player on the Warriors during this playoff run. Yes... Better than Jarrett Jack, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andrew Bogut.

Unfortunately, the Warriors would lose in the second round to the San Antonio Spurs, 2-4.

During this playoff run, Barnes's most impressive performance was in Game 5 against the Denver Nuggets in the first round. He put up:

23 Points, 9 Rebounds, 1 Assist, 2 Steals, and 1 Block

7/11 FG, 5/10 3P, 4/4 FT

41 Minutes

Barnes and the Warriors would redeem themselves as in the 2014-2014 NBA Playoffs; they would win their first Championship since 1975! Although Barnes was not as good as he was in his rookie season, he was still a Top 4-5 Player on a Championship winning team.

Dallas Mavericks and Sacramento Kings:

After four seasons with the Golden State Warriors, Harrison Barnes would say goodbye and sign with the Dallas Mavericks. His three seasons with the Mavericks were pretty uneventful. The Mavericks wouldn't make the playoffs once.

I'm assuming that the Mavericks signed Barnes as a part of their rebuild. He was only 24 when they signed him, but the Mavericks never got any promising young players until Luka Doncic in the 2018-2019 NBA season.

With the Mavericks, Barnes averaged:

18.7 Points, 5.2 Rebounds, 1.6 Assists, 0.7 Steals, and 0.2 Blocks

44.5 FG%, 36.7 3P%, 84.1 FT%

34.2 Minutes

Something that surprises me is that Barnes only received two points for Most Improved Player in the 2016-2017 NBA Season. Although it rightfully went to Giannis Antetokounmpo, Barnes should have received more votes. He went from:

11.7 Points, 4.9 Rebounds, 1.8 Assists, 0.6 Steals, and 0.2 Blocks

53.1 eFG%

30.9 Minutes


19.2 Minutes, 5.0 Rebounds, 1.5 Assists, 0.8 Steals, and 0.2 Blocks

49.8 eFG%

35.5 Minutes

To be fair, Barnes was given five more minutes of playing time. He was also traded to a team where he was given the freedom to shoot the ball more often. He went from having 9.6 field goal attempts to 16.2 field goal attempts!

The most memorable moment about Barnes' time with the Dallas Mavericks was when he was traded midway through a game. As a result, he had to sit out for the rest of the game. The Mavericks traded Barnes for Justin Jackson and Zach Randolph.

This was a one-sided trade considering that Zach Randolph is retired and Justin Jackson is on the Milwaukee Bucks now while Barnes, in my opinion, just had his best season in the NBA (2020-2021). To be fair, the Mavs just took in Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Courtney Lee, which altogether cost $32.8 million.

Right now, with the Sacramento Kings, Barnes is averaging:

16.1 Points, 6.6 Rebounds, 3.5 Assists, 0.7 Steals, and 0.2 Blocks

49.7 FG%, 39.1 3P%, 83.0 FT%

36.2 Minutes

This (2020-2021) is his most efficient season throughout his career, and as said before, in my opinion, his best season thus far. Barnes is 28 and will still be in his prime for another 2-3 years. I think the Kings should trade him while his trade value is at an all-time high.

Kirk Hinrich (Sioux City, Iowa)

Kirk Hinrich is the second-best NBA player from Iowa. From here on out, every player on this list is no longer an active NBA player. Besides Harrison Barnes, the only active NBA player from Iowa is Jared Uthoff.

Now back to Kirk Hinrich. The only reason why I know of Hinrich is because of his goggles. I also used to always mix up Kirk Hinrich and Toni Kukoc. In my opinion, they look like long-lost twins, but I digress.

Chicago Bulls:

Hinrich was drafted in the star-studded 2003 NBA Draft (ex: LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, etc.) as the seventh pick by the Chicago Bulls.

Hinrich would be immeadietly sent to the fray in his rookie season. He was already there starting Point Guard, starting 66 games. It made sense considering that the only other two Point Guards were Rick Brunson and Jannero Pargo. Brunson averaged three points and one assist for his entire career, while Pargo averaged six points and two assists.

In his first season, Hinrich would average:

12.0 Points, 3.4 Rebounds, 6.8 Assists, 1.3 Steals, and 0.3 Blocks

38.6 FG%, 39.0 3P%, 80.4 FT%

35.6 Minutes

Like Harrison Barnes, Hinrich was pretty good in his rookie season. Although he wasn't the best mid-range shooter, Hinrich made up for it with his three-point shooting, defense, and playmaking.

In his rookie season, Hinrich had a 32.5% assist percentage. That means that when Hinrich was on the floor, 32.5% of Hinrich's assists led to field goals! Hinrich was also fourth in Rookie of the Year Voting. We all know he didn't have a chance of winning it, lol. On the flip side, Hinrich had 2.7 turnovers a game and an 18.5% turnover rate.

From 2003-2007, Hinrich would steadily improve. He was shooting the ball much more efficiently, committing fewer turnovers, and in the 2006-07 NBA season, was selected to the All-NBA Defensive Second Team.

Throughout his thirteen-year career, Hinrich would make the post-season eleven times! Like Harrison Barnes, his best post-season performance was during his first playoff appearance in the 2004-05 NBA Playoffs.

Unlike Harrison Barnes, Hinrich was probably the best player on the Chicago Bulls during the 2004-05 NBA Playoffs. Hinrich averaged:

21.2 Points, 3.7 Rebounds, 5.8 Assists, 2.0 Steals, and 0.7 Blocks

45.0 FG%, 51.5 3P%, 69.0 FT%

35.5 Minutes

Besides his free-throw percentage, Hinrich was playing like an All-Star. He led the Bulls in points, assists, steals, and three-point percentage!

Unfortunatley, the Bulls would lose to the Washington Wizards, 2-4. During this series, Hinrich's best performance was in Game 2. He put up:

34 Points, 2 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 2 Steals

12/15 FG, 5/5 3P, 5/6 FT

25 Minutes

What's impressive about this performance is that he only played 25 minutes. Within the series, he averaged 35.5 minutes. Imagine how much better this stat-line could have been if Hinrich had another ten minutes!

Downfall (2007-2016):

After the 2006-07 NBA season, Hinrich's performance plummetted. In the 2007-08 NBA season, Hinrich had a career-low in points, assists, and rebounds. He only had minor injuries, so there's no reason for such a drop-off.

In the 2008-09 NBA season, the Chicago Bulls acquired future MVP Derrick Rose. As a result, Hinrich was relegated to a backup role at the point guard position.

After seven seasons with the Bulls, Hinrich would be traded to the Washington Wizards for a season and then traded to the Atlanta Hawks for two seasons. Not much happened.

After his brief stints with the Wizards and Hawks, in the 2012-2013 NBA season, after Derrick Rose's injury, Hinrich would go back to the Bulls. Again, not much happened. Hinrich became a shell of his former self, but that's what age does to you.

Hinrich would end his career in the 2015-2016 NBA season with the Atlanta Hawks.

Just so we don't end on such a sour note, we got to see prime Hinrich in the playoffs again in the 2010 NBA Playoffs. In the First Round, Game 3 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Hinrich put up:

27 Points, 5 Rebounds, 5 Assists, 1 Steal

9/12 FG, 4/4 3P, 5/8 FT

39 Minutes

Raef LaFrentz (Hampton, Iowa)

The third-best NBA player from Iowa is Raef LaFrentz. Although he isn't the best NBA player from Iowa, I will say that Raef LaFrentz has the best name amongst the 23 NBA players from Iowa.

From what I've read about LaFrentz, he could have been a fantastic fit in today's NBA. LaFrentz shot 36.3% from the three throughout his career and had a decent post-game, shooting 65% from 0-3.

He was also known for being an excellent shot-blocker, but I'll save that for later. I've never seen LaFrentz play, but would Kristaps Porzingis be a good comparison? Comment down below what you think!

Denver Nuggets

Raef LaFrentz was drafted in the 1998 NBA Draft as the 3rd pick by the Denver Nuggets. This draft had players like Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce, etc. Picking LaFrentz before these guys was a mistake, but LaFrentz wasn't that bad a player.

Unfortunatley, only twelve games into the season, LaFrentz tore his ACL. Within those twelve games, LaFrentz averaged:

13.8 Points, 7.6 Rebounds, 0.7 Assists, 0.8 Steals, and 1.4 Blocks

45.7 FG%, 38.7 3P%, 75.0 FT%

32.3 Minutes

If LaFrentz never suffered an ACL tear and continued playing like this, he would have, without a doubt, been a part of the All-Rookie First Team. Even Matt Harpring made the All-Rookie First Team averaging 8/4/1.

Unfortunately, LaFrentz had suffered that injury, as we'll never know how good he would have actually been. For the next 3-4 seasons, LaFrentz would play for the Denver Nuggets and never make the playoffs.

Dallas Mavericks:

Midway into the 2001-02 NBA season, LaFrentz would finally be freed from the Nuggets and traded to the Dallas Mavericks. During the time of the trade, LaFrentz's trade value was at an all-time high. He was averaging:

14.9 Points, 7.4 Rebounds, 1.2 Assists, 0.6 Steals, and 3.0 BLOCKS!

46.6 FG%, 43.4 3P% (DAMN), 66.7 FT%

32.7 Minutes

By the end of the season, LaFrentz was 2nd in total blocks! Also, that three-point percentage is nuts. Reggie Miller, regarded as one of the best three-point shooters, never shot that efficiently (43.4 3P%) from the three.

LaFrentz also only took 1.3 fewer three-pointers that season compared to Miller's career 3PA average, which makes this stat even more insane.

Like a broken record, similar to Harrison Barnes AND Kirk Hinrich, LaFrentz's best playoff performance was during his first appearance in 2001-02. It was definitely not as impressive as Barnes or Hinrich, but still good. He put up:

11.3 Points, 7.6 Rebounds, 0.6 Assists, 0.3 Steals, and 2.8 Blocks

50.0 FG%, 33.3 3P%, 54.5 FT%

30.6 Minutes

Man, what is up with these NBA players from Iowa and having the best playoff performance in their first playoff appearance. Typically, your first playoff appearance is your worst.

LaFrentz's best performance in this playoff run was in the Second Round, Game 3 against the Sacramento Kings. He put up:

24 Points, 13 Rebounds, 2 Blocks

10/16 FG, 1/3 3P, 3/4 FT

37 Minutes

The following season (2002-2003), LaFrentz and the Mavericks would make it to the Conference Finals but lose 2-4 to the San Antonio Spurs.

After two seasons with the Mavericks, LaFrentz would be traded to the Boston Celtics and Portland Trailblazers. Neither stint with each team was that eventful.

Kevin Kunnert (Dubuque, Iowa)

The fourth-best NBA player from Iowa is Kevin Kunnert. Let's be honest; you have no idea who Kevin Kunnert is. Me neither. However, he was in the NBA for nine years, so Kunnert was probably a decent player (which he was).

Unlike everyone else on this list, Kunnert didn't have the best start. Kunnert was drafted in the 1973 NBA Draft as the twelfth pick by the Chicago Bulls but was traded to the Buffalo Braves.

Only 39 games into his rookie season, Kunnet would be traded again to the Houston Rockets. He would play for the Houston Rockets for the majority of his career (1973-78). By the end of his rookie season, he was already traded twice, and he wasn't even that good. He averaged:

3.6 Points, 3.4 Rebounds, 0.7 Assists, 0.2 Steals, and 0.8 Blocks

48.8 FG%, 63.6 FT%

11.0 Minutes

I don't feel like repeating myself, but I think you already know what I'm going to say if you've read the previous players' blurbs. I'm just going to put Kunnert's stat-line here, and you'll probably be able to decipher what I mean:

10.9 Points, 7.5 Rebounds, 1.5 Assists, 0.5 Steals, and 1.6 Blocks

43.2 FG%, 65.4 FT%

30.5 Minutes

After five seasons with the Houston Rockets, Kunnert would sign with the San Diego Clippers and the Portland Trailblazers. Within the four years that he was on both teams, Kunnert only made the playoffs once with the Trailblazers, and they lost in the first round, so yeah.

An intersting but also sad fact was that Kevin Kunnert was involved in the infamous "Washington Punch," After Kunnert and Kermit Washington of the Los Angeles Lakers got into a fight after a missed shot, Kunnert's teammate and the then Houston Rockets' best player, Rudy Tomjanovich (5x All-Star and Hall of Famer) would rush in to help, but would be punched in the face by Washington.

As a result, Tomjanovich would end up with:

  • A Fractured Skull

  • Broken Nose

  • Broken Jaw

  • Facial Injuries

  • and Leakage of Spinal Fluid


Nick Collison (Iowa Falls, Iowa)

To end this list, the fifth-best NBA player from Iowa is Nick Collison (aka Mr. Thunder). I always knew of Nick Collison, but I always imagined Collison to be a 6'4" Shooting Guard. Then I find out that he's 6'10" and a Center, and now I'm perplexed.

As most NBA fans know, Nick Collision is known as Mr. Thunder because he's been on the Seattle Supersonics/Oklahoma City Thunder for his entire career (FOURTEEN YEARS)! Collison was the Udonis Haslem of the OKC Thunder, but with a lower peak, however, more consistent.

The Seattle Supersonics drafted Collison in the 2004-05 NBA Draft as the 12th pick. Although the Supersonics ended up drafting one of their most loyal players, the future of the Supersonics would probably be different if they had drafted 2x All-Star David West (same positions).

Instead of going over his rookie season, since Collison played his entire career with the Supersonics/Thunder, I'll just go over his career stats. He averaged:

5.9 Points, 5.2 Rebounds, 1.0 Assists, 0.5 Steals, and 0.5 Blocks

53.4 FG%, 20.8 3P%, 72.3 FT%

20.4 Minutes

I don't know how this happened for all five of the players here. Are NBA players from Iowa drinking a special juice during their first playoff appearance? I think you know where I'm going here. Collison's best playoff performance was during his first playoff appearance AND rookie season (2004-05). He averaged:

8.4 Points, 5.0 Rebounds, 0.5 Assists, 0.3 Steals, and 0.5 Blocks

60.7 FG%, 63.0 FTf%

19.8 Minutes

During the 2004-05 NBA Playoffs, his best game was in Round 1, Game 5 against the Sacramento Kings. He put up:

15 Points, 9 Rebounds, 1 Assist

6/6 FG, 3/7 FT

25 Minutes

This was Collison's playoff career-high in points.

Besides his playing experience, Collison probably has one of the weirdest contract clauses of all time. The Thunder would reward Collison $100,000 if he won MVP. Again, this is the guy who averaged 6/5/1 for his career.

To end this article on a bittersweet note, Collison's number would be retired by the OKC Thunder, becoming the first number retired by the OKC Thunder!


According To (Player Sources):

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