Warriors

Warriors focus: Kent Bazemore

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Warriors focus: Kent Bazemore

Editor's note: This is the second of seven individual player analysis, focusing on new Warriors' faces.

The Warriors have made plenty of changes since the end ofthe 2011-12 season. They will likely have four first-year players on their rostercome the start of the season, and they also acquired veterans Jarrett Jack andCarl Landry.Center Andrew Bogut came to the Warriors in March, but hesa newcomer, too, if you factor in that he still hasnt played a game for theteam yet. With training camp set to begin in early October, lets begin ourplayer-by-player analysis of the Warriors new players.Kent Bazemore, 6-foot-5, 195 pounds, shootingguard.Whats most important to know about Bazemore -- at thispoint, anyway -- is that hes currently occupying the 15th roster spot, which isthe maximum number allowed in the NBA.Whats also very pertinent is that his contract isntguaranteed. That means that while the Warriors like Bazemore, there are noassurances hell be around for the whole season.Yes, theres a scenario in which Bazemore could spend theentire 2012-13 with the Warriors or their D-League affiliate, which is prettymuch what Chris Wright did last season.But Bazemore is also a candidate to be waived at any time --which is the nature of a non-guarantee.What Bazemore has going for him is that he has the potentialto be the teams best defender on point guards and shooting guards. That alonecould make him worth keeping around.Its not a secret that Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, theWarriors projected starting backcourt, do not excel at the defensive end.Jack will help on thatend of the floor, but its not like hes a defensive stopper.Charles Jenkins is certainly improving defensively, butwere still talking about a stocky, 6-foot-3-ish sized player who isntoff-the-charts athletically.Bazemore, a left-hander, is a long 6-foot-5, and hesathletic. On top of that, hes got a defensive foundation, he has goodinstincts and he anticipates well. Bazemore comes into the league afterwinning back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year awards in the ColonialAthletic Association his junior and senior seasons.Bazemore defended well for the Warriors in the Las VegasSummer League. He also averaged 1.8 blocks per game, including one game inwhich he had seven. Bazemores length sometimes gives smaller playersdifficulty, and in Vegas, he showed an ability to block shots from behind intransition.There were times this summer when Bazemore and Jenkinsplayed together -- with Bazemore defending the point guard and Jenkins theshooting guard.When you look at the Warriors roster -- top to bottom -- youcould see how a player such as Bazemore could stick around. After all, he hasthe ability to do something very important -- defending guards -- better thananyone else on the roster.You can see why the Warriors like that and like Bazemore,too. Then again, the Warriors liked Wright and Jeremy Lin and even DominicMcGuire -- and none of those players are still with the team.Still, Bazemore has a shot with the Warriors. Lets see whathappens.

After leaving season opener early, Draymond, Casspi miss Warriors practice

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After leaving season opener early, Draymond, Casspi miss Warriors practice

The Warriors opened their season Tuesday night with a loss in which they looked considerably worse than what is expected of a defending champion.

What’s worse is that they also feel it.

Though Andre Iguodala’s back strain recovered enough for him to participate in practice for the first time in a week, Draymond Green’s right knee sprain and Omri Casspi’s left ankle sprain kept them on the sideline Wednesday.

While Green awaits the results of an MRI test, Casspi was limited to individual shooting drills. The availability of both is in doubt for the game Friday night against the Pelicans in New Orleans.

Casspi, a reserve forward, has sustained injuries to both ankles in a five-day span and even if he’s able to play he won’t be at full strength.

Green simply will not return to the lineup until he’s able, though Kerr sounded optimistic about his chances this weekend.

“I don’t think it’s serious,” Kerr said. “But we’ll see.”

If Casspi can’t play, the bench thins along the front line. It would mean more minutes for the likes of Kevon Looney and Pat McCaw.

If Green can’t play, well, that makes a massive impact that runs from the starting lineup all the way through the reserves. His intensity, production and communication are important to the Warriors at both ends of the court.

Some of that would be mitigated by the return of Iguodala, who may be more optimistic than Kerr about his chances of playing Friday.

“If Andre is banged up, he won’t play,” Kerr said. We’ll just make do with what we have.

“Hopefully, Andre will be OK. He’s been getter better every day. He’s pretty confident that he’s on the right track. So hopefully, he’ll play.”

Considering there is a game against the Grizzlies in Memphis less than 20 hours after the final buzzer in New Orleans, the issue is not whether the defending champs will have their roster taxed but to what degree.

Bulls forward Bobby Portis suspended multiple games for punching teammate

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Bulls forward Bobby Portis suspended multiple games for punching teammate

CHICAGO — The Chicago Bulls have suspended forward Bobby Portis for the first eight games for injuring teammate Nikola Mirotic during a fight at practice.

Mirotic suffered multiple broken bones in his face as well as a concussion on Tuesday. He will likely need surgery and is out indefinitely.

The team announced the suspension on Wednesday. Chicago opens the season at Toronto on Thursday.

A 2015 first-round pick, Portis has averaged 6.9 points and 5 rebounds. He will be allowed to practice with the team while he is suspended.

Mirotic averaged 10.8 points over his first three seasons with Chicago. A restricted free agent, he signed a two-year contract that could pay as much as $27 million in September. The club holds an option on the second season.