SAN FRANCISCO -- Over the last decade, the Golden State Warriors have rivaled Isaac Newton for the most prolific use of the word "gravity."
In basketball parlance, it refers to opposing defenses being magnetically attracted to legendary shooters like Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. But Golden State's newest addition, who also happens to be their oldest addition, is bringing a different type of gravity.
With his 18 seasons of NBA experience, rife with countless accomplishments and evolving methods of leadership, Chris Paul unwittingly generates a vacuum as soon as he steps into a room, drawing teammates, coaches, ball boys -- anyone in the vicinity -- into his orbit.
A vocal leader in his own right, Warriors forward Draymond Green listened as some of his young teammates relayed what they had learned from Paul during an offseason workout. Green marveled that even without speaking to Paul himself, he was already tangentially learning from him.
"That is something that you just can't quantify, because that is influence," Green said of Paul's leadership. " ... I'm extremely excited about the opportunity to learn from him."
Paul joins the Warriors -- formerly a bitter rival in his Rockets and Clippers days -- after a season in which the esteemed Golden State culture suffered a few hairline fractures. The team never recovered, in head coach Steve Kerr's estimation, from Green punching Jordan Poole during training camp, along with the publicized aftermath. It's only fitting that when Golden State brought in Paul, partly to help stabilize the locker room, it was the same trade that sent Poole packing to the nation's capital.
During Monday's media day, virtually every Warrior at the dais spoke of the team's renewed connectivity, how the vibes seem good heading into the official start of camp. Last season saw frustration on both sides when lottery picks Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody and James Wiseman (later traded to Detroit) failed to seize consistent roles in Kerr's rotation. Paul is here to make sure that the team remains unified, despite the distinct separation between the 30-somethings and the 20-somethings.
"In order for our team to be good, we can't be the vets over here and the young guys over there. It takes a team," Paul said on Monday. "We all have our strengths; we all have our weaknesses. I think one of my strengths is always to try, at least try -- ain't always perfect -- but at least try to make sure I bring people together."
Bringing people together is a noble sentiment, but the potentially chemistry-shattering elephant in the room is enormous and unavoidable. It didn't take internet sleuths long to resurface Green's comments about Paul from a 2020 interview on the All the Smoke podcast: "I don't like CP at all. Like, we don't have a good relationship at all."
Green said at media day on Monday that conversations with Paul over the summer have helped separate the competitor from the person, and that the two are actually very similar, particularly when it comes to their public perception.
"If you've ever watched Chris compete, he's kind of an asshole," Green said on Monday. "He may say the same thing about me, and that's okay. But he's also one of the most competitive guys that I've played against over my 11 years in this league. I'm also an extremely competitive guy, and I'm not backing down from anyone. He's not backing down from anyone."
Having two combustible alpha leaders will lead to inevitable clashes, Green admitted, but it can also be a tremendous strength for a team looking to rebound from a disappointing season following the 2022 title. And it certainly doesn't hurt to have a respected Hall of Famer who's not afraid to go toe-to-toe with the headstrong Green.
"If those two guys can focus that energy on the court when it comes to games, doing exactly that, making everybody hate them and making us love them, I know they can keep each other accountable to that energy, as well," Curry said on Monday. "That's going to make a huge difference and give them an edge and give us an edge."
With all the talk of leadership and intangibles, Paul was certain to remind everyone on Monday that this isn't some veteran mentor situation -- that he's "here to hoop."
Paul's basketball IQ is notably off the charts, and while his production has declined over the past two seasons, he's still one of the elite pick-and-roll maestros in the game. When Golden State's quick-hitting, read-and-react offense occasionally stalls out, it's a luxury to have one of the best point guards of all time to steer things in the right direction.
"I think he's gonna keep us under control a little bit more. Sometimes last year we got a little too chaotic," Warriors center Kevon Looney said on Monday. "I think having Chris out there is gonna help balance us out."
As the elder statesman, the assumption is that Paul, 38 will usually be the one doing the teaching. With all of that basketball under his belt, it's only natural that he'd play the part of the wise sage preaching from beneath the bodhi tree. But even with all of his accumulated knowledge, Paul can still learn a thing or two from a Warriors core that has been through it all and has the one thing that Paul lacks -- championship experience.
"Being here with this great group of talent -- me and Steph was in the gym together last night -- and it's just fun when you're working out with guys, because you think you know things," Paul said on Monday. "So even with [Kuminga] and some of the younger guys, you can always learn in this league, and that's what brings the excitement and that's what makes it fun."