NBA mailbag: Bestworst scenarios for Warriors

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NBA mailbag: Bestworst scenarios for Warriors

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.

Report: Warriors assistant GM on verge of becoming Hawks GM

Report: Warriors assistant GM on verge of becoming Hawks GM

The Warriors are reportedly about to lose a member of their front office.

The Hawks picked Golden State assistant GM Travis Schlenk to become the team's new general manager, and the two sides are discussing contract terms, according to The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Last September, after five seasons as assistant GM, Schlenk was promoted to vice president of basketball operations/assistant general manager.

In his 13th season with the Warriors, Schlenk assists in the management of all day-to-day basketball operations, including all player-related matters.

In 2009-10 and 2010-11, he served as Golden State's director of player personnel. Before joining the front office, Schlenk spent five years as an assistant coach and video scout for the Warriors, having originally joined the organization prior to the 2004-05 season as a video scout.

More to come...

Golden State Warriors media services contributed to this story

Irving fuels Game 4 comeback, Cavs take 3-1 lead over Celtics

Irving fuels Game 4 comeback, Cavs take 3-1 lead over Celtics

BOX SCORE

CLEVELAND -- Kyrie Irving gritted his teeth, tightened up his left sneaker and hopped to his feet.

The pain didn't stop him. The Celtics didn't either.

Irving took over in the second half and finished with 42 points, LeBron James added 34 and the Cleveland Cavaliers moved within one win of an almost inevitable third date in the Finals with Golden State by rallying to beat Boston 112-99 on Tuesday night in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals.

With James in foul trouble, Irving stayed on the floor despite rolling his left ankle in the third quarter, when he scored 19 points in less than five minutes.

"He put us on his back and carried us," Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said.

The defending NBA champions, who shot 71 percent in the second half to open a 3-1 lead in the series, can wrap up their third straight conference title - and a "three-match" against the Warriors - with a win in Game 5 on Thursday night in Boston.

But if Games 3 and 4 are any indication, it won't be easy.

Fighting to keep their season alive, the Celtics aren't giving an inch despite playing without All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas, who may need surgery on a hip injury.

The Cavs, meanwhile, wouldn't be on the cusp of the Finals without Irving.

With Cleveland in jeopardy of dropping its second game in a row after James followed an 11-point Game 3 by picking up four first-half fouls, Irving put on a breathtaking one-man show in the third quarter.

Freezing Boston defenders with his dribble and driving to the basket whenever he wanted, Irving made six layups, two 3-pointers and a free throw in a dizzying span of 4:48. He capped his blistering 19-point outburst with a 3 in the final second of the quarter and celebrated at mid-court by pretending to put two pistols back in his holster.

"Coming out of halftime I just wanted to be aggressive, lead my guys and leave it all out there on the floor," Irving said.

When the horn sounded to end the third, Cleveland's players poured off the bench to greet him. They had to be careful not to knock him off his feet after Irving had put a scare through the frenzied Quicken Loans Arena crowd moments earlier when he stepped on the foot of Boston's Terry Rozier.

Irving stayed on the floor for several seconds before sitting up and re-tying his sneaker. Nothing was keeping him out.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens was disappointed with his team's defense on Irving, who was able to spread the floor while surrounded by shooters.

"There's choices," Stevens said. "I'm not sure there are good choices. When he gets going like that, he's tough to stop. The ones we gotta look at are the ones he got at the rim."

Kevin Love added 17 points and 17 rebounds for the Cavs, now 11-1 in the postseason.

Avery Bradley scored 19 and Jae Crowder 18 for Boston.

Lue chuckled before the game when he was asked if he planned to say anything to James following his sub-standard performance in Game 3.

"No message," Lue said. "Just come out, be aggressive, in attack mode like he has been over the last four or five months. Nothing has changed."

Lue should have warned James to be careful, too, as the superstar picked up four fouls and spent the final 6:46 of the first half watching from the bench, unable to help his team.

But beyond James' foul trouble, the Cavs were having other issues as the Celtics outplayed them at both ends while opening a 16-point lead.

Irving kept Cleveland within striking distance while James was out by scoring 12 points over the final 5:11 of the second quarter.

And in the third quarter, the All-Star guard had James' back again, keeping the Cavs on their collision course with the Warriors.

TIP-INS:
Celtics: Thomas spoke to coach Brad Stevens and told him that he has visited one hip specialist and plans to see more before it's decided if he needs surgery. Thomas initially injured his hip in March and played the final two months of the regular season before aggravating it during the playoffs. ... Stevens started Kelly Olynyk, who had 15 points. ... Before the playoffs began, the Celtics were 22-5 at home since Jan. 1. They're 5-4 in the postseason so far.

Cavaliers: Irving scored 41 in Game 5 of last year's Finals. ... J.R. Smith and his wife, Jewel, brought their daughter home after more than five months in the hospital following her premature birth. Smith posted photos on his Instagram account of the couple leaving Hillcrest Hospital with their baby in a stroller. "We Walked In Together We Walked Out Together!!" Smith wrote. ... Deron Williams played 18 minutes after sustaining a shoulder "stinger" in Game 3.

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The Celtics lost Game 2 at home by 44 and the first two games of the series by a combined 57.