The 2019-20 NBA season will see the Golden State Warriors look much different than they have in years past.
Gone are Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, as well as the more recent acquisitions of DeMarcus Cousins, Quinn Cook and Jordan Bell.
The torn ACL suffered by All-Star guard Klay Thompson in the Finals only makes matters worse, as he'll likely miss the better part of the regular season.
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On opening night, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and head coach Steve Kerr will be the biggest remaining constants from when the team's magical run began in 2014.
While it's hard to find positives in an offseason that saw so much talent leave, the Warriors softened the blow as best as they could by acquiring D'Angelo Russell in exchange for Durant, signing Willie Cauley-Stein, adding young talent through the draft and ensuring Thompson, Green and Kevon Looney would remain a part of the franchise's future with contract agreements.
Still, Kerr will have his work cut out for him considering the number of changes abound. How can he bring it all together?
By many accounts, Kerr is a player's coach. In 2014, he inherited a 51-win team fresh off of a first-round loss and led them to a title in his first year as a head coach, the first of three titles in five straight Finals appearances. Having won five titles as a player under Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich, Kerr has learned from the best on how to resonate with his players.
It should come as no surprise that Russell told Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype that he feels Kerr "brings out the best in his players and puts them in roles where they can [be themselves]. I'm really excited about that … He's a coach who allows you to do what you do best."
Last season - the best of Russell's young career - he showed plenty of what he does best, posting averages of 21.1 points, 7.0 assists and 3.9 rebounds over 81 games, but largely did so as a result of how ball-dominant he was.
Perhaps the most telling stat that illustrates how much Russell had the ball in his hands last season is his 11.4 possessions per game as the pick-and-roll ball handler - the second most in the league behind only Kemba Walker (11.8), per NBA.com Stats.
Now, alongside Curry and Green, the situations in which Russell will get the ball are sure to change, a fact that he acknowledged in his interview with Kennedy.
"It's a situation where I can go in and not worry about being on-the-ball or off-ball or coming off the bench or whatever. I am just being a basketball player. If I have the ball in my hands, I'll make a play. If I don't, I'll try to get in position to make a play. I think that's what it comes down to.
That's where Kerr comes in.
When asked about the offseason addition of Russell, Kerr told reporters at USA Basketball Training Camp that "I think he's going to fit right in with our group and we're gonna need him desperately, without Klay especially … it's up to us to figure it out."
As the team's presumed starting shooting guard in Thompson's absence, it's fair to assume that Russell will be looked upon to replace his production on the offensive end, but can he do it in similar situations?
Per NBA.com Stats, Thompson led the league in scoring off of screens last season with 568 points while Russell scored just 47 points off screens for the entire year.
Russell has shown the capability to score off of screens, as he does below:
It just hasn't been a big part of his game to this point of his career.
Still, Kerr could still look to adjust things offensively for the Warriors to play more to their newest acquisition's strengths.
Last season, Stephen Curry averaged 5.1 possessions per game as the ball handler in pick-and-roll situations. Him running more of those could help unlock Russell as an off-ball threat. Over half of Russell's career-high 234 3-pointers last season were assisted, often coming in situations when he spaces out, as he does here:
To mirror this sequence with the Warriors, Kerr could increase the frequency with which we see Green as the roll or pop man after setting a screen for Curry or another ball-handler, as he's proven himself as one of the best playmaking forwards in the NBA.
Cauley-Stein was one of the most used ball screeners in the league last season and tied a career-high with 2.4 assists per game. While he shouldn't be expected to make plays in a manner similar to Green, an aggressive roll or dive from the 7-footer could command the attention of help defenders to free shooters like Russell for catch-and-shoot 3s, which he knocked down 39.4% of last season.
Still, what is perhaps the biggest looming question is what happens when Thompson returns from injury? Can Kerr institute a three-guard lineup with Curry, Russell and Thompson?
At 6-foot-5, Russell has enough size to play shooting guard while the 6-foot-7 Thompson can slide to the small forward position. During his time as a Net, Russell often shared the backcourt with prolific Brooklyn guard Spencer Dinwiddie.
Another encouraging sign for the fit? Last season, Brooklyn's deadeye shooter, Joe Harris, assisted Russell more than any other teammate, largely due to the gravity provided by his elite shooting ability.
As two of the greatest shooters of all-time, both Thompson and Curry command similar attention from defences, meaning tough decisions must be made on the perimeter. Russell could very well end up as the beneficiary, meaning he has the potential to again have a big season, albeit in a different manner than last.
History - and the tape - indicate that D'Angelo Russell's fit with the Golden State Warriors could keep them atop the West's elite. As "desperately" as Steve Kerr says they need him, it could all be as simple as Russell's deviation from ball dominance and Kerr adding wrinkles to the offence that allow him to be the beneficiary of the attention the other Warriors command.
Kerr has almost seamlessly incorporated talent in years past, and this time should be no different.