Will Warriors finish ahead of Minnesota, Phoenix?


Will Warriors finish ahead of Minnesota, Phoenix?

This is part 2 of a three-part series in which NBA Insider Matt Steinmetz takes a look at the six Western Conference teams the Warriors will be competing with for the final two spots in the playoffs.

Keep in mind that Steinmetz is assuming Oklahoma City, L.A. Lakers, L.A. Clippers, Memphis, San Antonio, and Denver will hold down the top six spots in the Western Conference, and that the Warriors will definitely finish ahead of Sacramento and New Orleans.

Part 1 compared the Warriors to the Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets.

Part 3 will pit the Warriors against Portland and Utah (coming Tuesday morning).

Minnesota TimberwolvesWhile the Timberwolves roster is intriguing, its also a little bit unknown. Their best player, Kevin Love, can stuff the boxscore with stats but he is still working on making teammates better.Many wonder whether a team with Love as its best player can be successful.Love had a terrific season in 2011-12, but his effectiveness and efficiency went down when point guard Ricky Rubio got hurt. Rubio wont be ready by the start of the regular season, and thats a factor for a team thats going to need a lot to go right to make the postseason.The hope is Rubio will be back around December and for the T-Wolves sake he better be. The T-Wolves were 21-19 when Rubio went down with injury; they finished the season 26-40.Minnesota also needs Brandon Roy to resemble the player he once was and for Andrei Kirilenko to do the same.Can the T-Wolves make the playoffs? Yes, but its not going to be easy. What do you think?Phoenix SunsReports of the Suns demise have been greatly exaggerated. Yes, they lost Steve Nash and thats going to hurt, but Phoenixs roster has no shortage of legitimate players.Goran Dragic is no Nash, but hes not bad, either. And having rookie Kendall Marshall backing him up is a nice little combination. What the Suns also have is size on the interior in Marcin Gortat and Luis Scola, a notorious Warriors killer. And if Jermaine ONeal can give the Suns anything, it will be a bonus.What the Suns did do this offseason is overpay for Michael Beasley, giving him a three-year, 18 million deal. But when you throw Beasley alongside Jared Dudley, Shannon Brown, Markieff Morris and Wes Johnson, you realize that the Suns didnt drop off the map.Phoenix went 33-33 a season ago, and its not out of the realm of possibility they could hover around .500 this upcoming season. But the question is: Do they have enough to make the playoffs?

Draymond responds to Embiid: 'Man, I love that dude'


Draymond responds to Embiid: 'Man, I love that dude'

Draymond Green and Joel Embiid are two of the biggest trash talkers in the NBA. 

After the 76ers blew a 22-point halftime lead to the Warriors on Saturday, Embiid tweeted "we know what it feels like to blow a big lead" to take a jab at the Warriors blowing a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals two years ago. 

Green finally saw the tweet and it looks like it's all fun and games between the two. The Warriors' defensive star says he's "looking forward to playing against you (Embiid) for years." 

While tweeting the response, Green had even more to say. 

In the Warriors' 124-116 win over the 76ers on November 18, Green scored eight points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished eight assists. Embiid scored 21 points to go with eight rebounds.

Why did David Lee retire? Warriors impact on NBA 'did limit my options'


Why did David Lee retire? Warriors impact on NBA 'did limit my options'

Last season, David Lee appeared in 79 games (10 starts) for the Spurs, averaging 7.3 points and 5.6 rebounds over 18.7 minutes a night.

He doesn't turn 35 years old until April 29.

But over the weekend, he officially announced his retirement from the NBA.

On Tuesday, the two-time All-Star explained his decision during an interview with Greg Papa and Bonta Hill on 95.7 The Game.

"I kind of had a little bit more of a strict criteria coming into this offseason. At the most I wanted to play another two years, and as you know -- I had another injury last season, so a lot of the summer was spent rehabbing.

"And with the NBA changing right now, the Warriors have caused a lot of teams in the league to say either we're gonna try to put as many guys on one team as possible to try to compete with the Warriors, or we're gonna go super young. So it did limit my options."

[POOLE: In his own way, David Lee was a launching pad for the new age Warriors]

You know the story: When Steve Kerr arrived in Golden State, Lee was slated to be the team's starting power forward. But after he injured his hamstring during the preseason, Draymond Green became the starter and Lee never got his starting role back.

In July 2015, Golden State traded him to Boston. Lee was waived in February 2016 and finished the season in Dallas.

So what is Lee going to do next?

"I either wanted to be in a situation where I was on a team that could be a contender -- which once again as you know limits it to maybe six teams if we're being generous -- or a team where I could play significant enough minutes to really be worth coming back and to feel like I was doing something meaningful.

"And while I had a couple opportunities, that criteria wasn't really filled. And at the same time, I actually got a call from a couple of my very good friends that I met while I was a Golden State Warrior -- that run an unbelievable venture capital firm and are doing incredible things in the Bay -- and offered to have me come work for them and have some very exciting things that could happen in the future.

"When the offers didn't come in the way that I wanted them to -- although I could go be someone's fourth big man on a team that's gonna win 30 games -- I decided to roll the dice and to try something new and I'm really excited about my decision."

Lee's new venture will have him flying back and forth between New York and the Bay Area.

So it's quite possible that Warriors fans will bump into Lee at some point soon...

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller