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Kevin Durant quickly filling leadership role

durant leadership


Kevin Durant brings scoring, shooting, ball handling, and length to the Golden State Warriors.

He’s also bringing a different style of leadership to the group, one that’s much needed.

Warriors rookie guard Patrick McCaw told reporters in Santa Cruz that Durant has already been texting him.

“He said if I need anything he’s going to be there for me,” McCaw said on Thursday.

Three days into his tenure as a Warrior, and Durant is already requesting phone numbers of his younger teammates. Put the situation into perspective: this was the craziest week of his life, where media members and fans were coming out of the woodwork to slam his character. He’s uprooting everything he knows and moving it to the Bay Area. He’s kind of got a lot going on.

Durant absolutely was not expected to reach out to McCaw. But that’s just who he is. He wants to make young players feel comfortable, even though Durant himself is still figuring out his own bearings. He’s going to go out of his way to make sure everyone is on the same page. It’s why his OKC teammates like Cameron Payne were openly devastated when they found out KD was leaving for Golden State. Durant’s persona leaves a lasting impression on people.

If you think about it, the Warriors are in need of an injection of leadership. It’s become a broad term in sports, leadership, encompassing all different types of traits. But just like he can score and defend, Durant can lead a group of people. The Warriors will welcome this hidden trait he brings to the locker room. 

Steph Curry and Klay Thompson will be the first to tell you their leadership styles are by example. Watch how hard they practice and how they execute on the court, and you’ll learn. Calling an issue out and putting it on the table, though, is neither of their strengths. Draymond Green’s rah-rah style of leading works for the Warriors — it wakes people up, and it causes much needed conflict at times — but now he and Steve Kerr aren’t the only person who will bark at the group.

As sweet as Durant is, there’s a fiery passion that burns inside of him. It won’t be exactly like Draymond, but KD’s not afraid to speak out of turn if he thinks something needs to be said. Leadership also means cohesiveness. Now a nine-year veteran, he wants younger payers to gravitate towards him for anything and everything. Can you imagine if Durant works closely with McCaw and slowly develops him into a stud off the bench? That’s in the realm of possibilities. Durant wants to be a leader.

Curry, Thompson and Green were all drafted by the Warriors. Steph went through some losing seasons before the turnaround, but because this trio has been so closely tied together for the last four seasons, they haven’t seen everything the NBA can throw at you yet. If issues arise with on-court chemistry or distractions with the media, Durant will be able to bring a different insight to the table. Rest assured, he won’t keep quiet in the corner.

Of course, Durant’s most memorable display of leadership was his now famous 2014 MVP acceptance speech. He shared the credit and publicly commended the sacrifice of his Thunder teammates and his mom Wanda — in a graceful way we’d never seen before.

Durant will evolve as a player with the Warriors. He’ll evolve as a leader, too. Golden State is gaining arguably the third best basketball player in the world, and another wise and inclusive voice in their locker room.

 

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