How Warriors Will Make Up for Loss of Veteran Leadership Next Season

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 Observations on the state of the Dubs.

The youth movement has begun for the Warriors, as the team transitions into a new era at Chase Center in San Francisco.

In recent years, inexperienced rookies would have plenty of guidance from seasoned roster stalwarts. But with Kevin Durant going to Brooklyn, Andre Iguodala reportedly headed to Memphis before a likely buyout, DeMarcus Cousins probably out of the Warriors' price range and Shaun Livingston almost certainly no longer with the team next season, the Warriors will be without a large majority of their recent veteran leadership next season.

So, how do the Warriors make up for this?

Steph Curry has been the quiet leader of the franchise for many years now, but he is not accustomed to be a hands-on teacher to the team's young players. Klay Thompson lately has been a bit more vocal, but still essentially lets his play do all the leading and talking on the court. In the end, it looks like a majority of the leadership and guidance burden will fall on Draymond Green's shoulders next season. 

Yes, we all know Draymond as the fiery, sometimes confrontational, "heart" of the Warriors, but he has also played a major part in the development of past younger players. Green will have to assume that role now more than ever as the team relies on inexprienced players like Damian Jones, Jacob Evans, Jordan Poole, Eric Pascall and Alen Smailagic to have roles on the team.

It goes without saying the the front office is searching hard for locker-room leaders who they can add on veteran minimum contracts, but those players will also be adjusting to a new group. So Green not only will have to lead a decimated defense, but also fill a substantial teaching void.

Where Curry can shine off the court will be in the development of D'Angelo Russell as a basketball player and a teammate. Russell had some off-court misadventures in his first two years with the Lakers, and his maturity had been questioned at times in his brief career. By all accounts, he took a great leap forward after he was traded to Brooklyn in 2017, but it will be up to Curry to mentor Russell as best he can and provide the support needed to guide the 23-year-old.

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That includes helping Russell hone his basketball skills to adapt to Steve Kerr's complex offense. There surely will be adjustments made to the offense to fit the new roster, but it is likely that Russell will have to get used to sharing the ball a little more and taking more efficient shots, rather than settling for volume. Mentorship from a two-time MVP will be vital in this process.

The Wariors' roster is still taking shape, and there are a lot of question marks still out there. Because of that, Golden State will have to rely on its original "big three" to lead the way on and off the court. 

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