Mailtime Looking ahead to the 2012-13 season, what would yousay is the most games the Warriors could win and the fewest, depending onwhether things go their way or not? James, Oakland, Calif.Steinmetz: I would say that best-case scenario,the Warriors win 48 games. Thats the best. As for worst, Id say somethinglike 32 or 33 wins.First, lets explain the 48. I dont think theres any doubtthat if the Warriors stay healthy this season, they should be in the mix forone of the final playoff spots. Looking at the Western Conference, youreprobably going to need 43 or 44 wins to get there. I think if things fall reasonably into place, the Warriorshave a shot at getting there. Now, if there are some things that break theirway outside of their control, youve got to allow for even more wins.For example, if Dirk Nowitzki gets hurt in Dallas or ifLaMarcus Aldridge gets hurt in Portland, I could see adjusting the win total upa little bit. Over the past several years, the Warriors have not been a verygood road team. And I just dont see that being cured overnight. What I do see,however, is a Warriors team that is deeper and more talented than in yearspast. They should be able to take advantage of opponents that are not at fullstrength.Now for the worst-case scenario: If Andrew Bogut cant puttogether a full season, I think the Warriors are in trouble. Hes thesingle-biggest key to the season because he is someone who could be a veryimpactful player at a very important position.To me, the worst-case scenario for the Warriors and theirfans would be to suffer through another injury plagued season and Im talkingabout Bogut and Stephen Curry.What Warriors fans should be concerned about most is theteam getting hit by injuries and then the Warriors being in the same spot withtheir draft pick in 2012-13 as they were a year ago with Utah.If the Warriors wind up with a top-six pick in the 2013draft, they get to keep it. If they wind up with the No. 7 pick or worse, theymust give it up. It would be pretty demoralizing if, come February, theWarriors find themselves worrying about that draft pick again.Is Kent Bazemore going to make the team in yourestimation? Stephen, Dublin, Calif.Steinmetz: Hes got a good shot at it. But keep inmind, if Bazemore is on the roster on opening night, it doesnt necessarilymean hes made the team for the season.Right now the Warriors have 15 players under contract which is the maximum.But Bazemores contract is not fully guaranteed, so whatthat means is the Warriors could waive him at any time and not be on the hookfor the remainder of his deal.So, Bazemore being on the roster actually gives the Warriorssome flexibility because he doesnt have to be there all season. If, forexample, the Warriors want to make a deal in which they trade one player fortwo players, they could still do the deal, and simply waive Bazemore.But the Warriors do like Bazemores ability to defend wings,and its clear they want to see more of him.What happens ifwhen Jeremy Lin is clearlyoutperformed by at least six other point guards in the Western Conference andis still voted an All-Star game starter? Raj, Walnut Creek, Calif.Steinmetz: Well, thats the risk you take anytimethe fans have control of the vote. I supposed thats possible, but other than itbeing awkward or a little unfair, what can you really do?Im less interested in whether Lin makes the All-Star Gamethan I am in how he plays this year for the Rockets. I anticipate Lin is goingto be a nice player for them, but he wont resemble the player who killed itfor the Knicks during that stretch last season.But I certainly expect him to be better than when he was athis worst last year, turning the ball over constantly and struggling with hisshot.I have no trouble saying that I didnt see last year comingas it relates to Lin. All I had to go on was when he was with the Warriors, andhe struggled. I think Lin is a legitimate NBA player now.Im not sure that hes an everyday starting point guard fora very good team. I see him more of a backup type point guard. But thats justme. And with that said, Im the first to admit that a prediction on him doesntmean a thing because, like I said, I had doubts he could even play in theleague in the first place and he can certainly do that.Is it possiblethe Warriors could buy out Andris Biedrins contract. Bill, Emeryville,Calif. Steinmetz: Yes,its possible but I just dont think its likely. The only way I see it aspossible is if Biedrins has absolutely no interest in playing basketballanymore. And I dont believe thats the case.Biedrins has two moreyears remaining on his deal at 18 million with Year No. 2 being a playeroption.What Im getting around tois Biedrins is guaranteed 18 million. Why in the world would he give any ofthat up? For what? I dont see any reason why Biedrins should even entertainbeing bought out. I know I wouldnt unless I felt the situation in GoldenState was so deplorable that Id do anything to get out.But I dont see that beingthe case. The NBA is littered with bad contracts, and as bad as Biedrinscontract is right now, its actually not that awful. The reason being prettysoon, its going to become an expiring contract and once that happens itbecomes beneficial to the Warriors.Next year the Warriors areeither going to be able to trade Biedrins to a team looking to clear cap space,which could net Golden State a legitimate player, or the Warriors could simplyallow Biedrins to come off their books, which will aid their financialstructure.Im not nave enough tobelieve Biedrins is going to return to the form he had three or four years ago.But I do think he could become a serviceable backup to Andrew Bogut and givethe Warriors something off the bench.As for the being paid 9million to be a backup, hey, it is what it is, as they say.
Just before the Warriors officially lost the game in Memphis on Saturday night, their superstar point guard lost his cool.
After not getting a foul call with 43 seconds left in the game, Steph Curry chucked his mouthguard in the direction of referee Scott Wall in a fit of rage reminiscent of Game 6 of the 2016 NBA Finals.
Wall immediately ejected Curry, who continued to argue with the officials.
After the game, Curry wanted to make it clear he wasn't trying to his Wall with his mouthguard.
"If I tried to throw it at him and hit him, I've got a pretty good aim," Curry said told reporters after the game. "I've thrown my mouthpiece plenty of times and thrown it on the floor. Probably not the best thing to do, but I've done it. I own up to it.
"If I was trying to throw it at him or hit him, I would have been able to executed that."
Curry explained why he reacted the way he did.
"That last play, I thought I got fouled. My frustration boiled over, did something stupid, deserved to get kicked out and that's what happened. Obviously learn from it and try not to do it again," Curry told reporters.
Now Curry and the Warriors wait to see if the NBA will suspend or fine him. He has an expectation of what the punishment will be.
"Don't think it will be a suspension or anything. My pockets will be a lot lighter," Curry said after the game.
It’s much too early to get legitimately nervous, much less start tumbling into a panic.
The Warriors are going to be fine.
They most certainly are not yet what they will become in about two weeks, when they settle in for a four-game homestand that begins Nov. 6. That’s 10 games into the season, and it’s conceivable the Warriors might be 6-4.
After a 111-101 loss to the ever-tenacious Grizzlies on Saturday in Memphis, the Warriors are 1-2 and, by their lofty standard, looking about as lost as a stray cat in a hurricane.
“We’re obviously not ready. We knew that,” coach Steve Kerr said. “We’re not ready to put together a full effort. And I’m not doing a great job of putting together combinations, finding the right motivation to get guys going, to get some joy and laughter in here.
“It’s just one of those rough patches. And, hopefully, we can climb our way out of it. I’m sure we will. It may take some time.”
It will take some time, and of that there is plenty.
Do not blame this lull entirely on China, not when there is so much more. The Warriors are coming off their third consecutive prolonged season, this one followed by the training camp disruption caused by spending eight days in Oakland, eight days in China, followed by eight days in Oakland leading up to opening night.
It’s easy to see the timing is off on an offense that relies on precision. The spacing is off on an offense that requires room to operate. The energy is lacking on a defense that lapses into ordinary without its bedrock intensity. Both body and spirit appear less than peak.
“We’ve been playing hard,” Kevin Durant told reporters at FedEx Forum, “but I think we’ve got to take it up a level.
“We’ll be fine. It’s 79 more games left. I’m sure we’ll figure it out.”
Understand, a team that won an NBA-best 67 games last season and posted a league-record 16-1 postseason doesn’t lose it because opponents load up. When the Warriors are on their game, opponents don’t matter.
For now, though, there is an individual listlessness that results in collective slumber. Stephen Curry has gambled himself in foul trouble in both losses and was booted in Memphis. Andre Iguodala missed an entire game and Draymond Green missed the fourth quarter of the first loss, a game in which the Warriors gave up a 13-point lead over the final 12 minutes.
And Durant’s 4.6 blocks per game is impressive. It also happens to be offset by his 6.3 turnovers per game.
“That’s on me,” he said. “I’m turning the ball over at a high rate right now. I’m really pissed at myself about it. I’ve just got to hold on to the ball. Just make the correct pass. I think I’m just rushing. I just need to calm down, settle down, and that would ignite the whole team. But if I turn the ball over, that’s contagious.”
The Rockets turned 17 Warriors giveaways into 21 points. The Pelicans turned 14 into 20. The Grizzlies turned 17 into 24.
Asked what has to change, Klay Thompson went to exactly the right place, saying “probably our defensive intensity from the jump.”
That’s where it starts, at least on the court. Meanwhile, there is more video work, more group texts about details and the need for more time for their bodies and minds to become one.
“We’ll be better,” Durant said. “We’re still finding a groove with each other. We’re still getting back into shape as far as playing our game, the flow, just the reads off not calling plays. We’ve got to get used to that again.”
Thompson is, however, displaying a modicum of impatience.
“We’ll come out Monday and we’ll play a great game,” he said. “I guarantee it.”
He’s probably right. The Warriors will be playing at Dallas, against a Mavericks team that is built to be devoured by the powerful.
That might be a quick fix. But it won’t be the final fix. That is weeks away.