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.
NBA mailbag: Bestworst scenarios for Warriors
August 24, 2012, 6:43 pm