How Damion Lee, Ky Bowman Could Earn Minutes for Warriors This Season

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NBC Bay Area

Editor's note: Grant Liffmann (@grantliffmann) is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders, which airs on NBC Sports Bay Area 90 minutes before each home game and 60 minutes after every game. Each week, Grant will drop his Outsider Observation on the state of the Dubs.

The Warriors are on the precipice of a brand new season and an entirely new era of Golden State basketball.

Holdovers like Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson remain the face of the franchise, but the story of the season likely will come down to how the newcomers perform. As the roster dynamic shifts to a younger generation, so do the responsibilities of main bench contributors.

Do not be surprised if a chunk of that production comes from both two-way players, Damion Lee and Ky Bowman.

With the team hard-capped and unable to add a 15th player to the roster, along with second-round NBA draft pick Alen Smailagic most likely playing a majority of next season for the Santa Cruz Warriors in the G League, Golden State will go into the season shorthanded on full-time roster players. Add into the equation that the team still is unsure exactly what they will have in rookies Jordan Poole and Eric Paschall, as well as second-year players Omari Spellman and Jacob Evans III, there will be plenty of opportunity available for Lee and Bowman to throw their names into the mix.

Lee has the biggest chance to contribute immediately for Golden State. The 26-year-old, 6-foot-6 guard played 32 games with the Warriors last season, hitting nearly 40 percent of his shots from deep and playing sound defense, all while constantly on the move between the G League and NBA, never knowing where he will be the next day.

With the loss of Thompson for a majority of the season, coach Steve Kerr will be in search of a deep threat at shooting guard, and Lee seems primed for the chance. While Kerr is expected to play D'Angelo Russell off the ball alongside Curry, there will be times when only one of them is on the court, opening up a slot for Lee or Poole to shoot their way into a consistent bench role.

In the end, whomever plays the most reliable defense might be the player that earns playing time. It will be a battle for minutes, and Lee seems up for the challenge.

Speaking of defense, when Kerr needs a quick defender on the ball, he might turn to Bowman, a 6-foot-2 athletic guard.

In the Vegas Summer League, Bowman showed his defensive grit, constantly applying ball pressure from one side of the court to the other. He has quick hands and fluid lateral movement, helping him stay in front of the ball.

He's no slouch offensively either, as he is a solid ball handler and passer, as well as an effective slasher.

[RELATED: Five possible Iguodala landing spots in trade from Grizz]

The biggest question mark with Bowman early in his career will be his ability to hit outside shots. As for the opportunities available, the Warriors are unsure what they have for ball handlers other than Curry and Russell. The transition for Evans III to point guard will take time, and there were lots of ups and downs in summer league.

After the team lost backups Shaun Livingston and Quinn Cook in the offseason, as well as pseudo-point forward Andre Iguodala, the Warriors will be looking for a player to step up and be able to play solid consistent point guard without turning the ball over. Evans III will have the first shot, but Bowman can count on a chance to prove himself capable as well. 

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