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%
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%
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
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%
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
19.2 Minutes, 5.0 Rebounds, 1.5 Assists, 0.8 Steals, and 0.2 Blocks
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%
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.
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%
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%
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
What's impressive about this performance is that he only played 25 minutes. Within the series, he averaged 35.5 minutes. I