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Paul George planning to pick up leadership role after David West's departure

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Pacers star Paul George is heading into his prime and adding to his game will now include more than just getting buckets and defending at an elite level.

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Paul George's rapid rise to a star in the NBA didn't come without some bumps in the road due to the immaturity of a player in his early 20's thrust into the spotlight. After dealing with disappointing playoff losses and headlines, PG absorbed another variety of humility while being forced to miss most of last season with injury.

Observing the game from a different perspective (usually the bench) offered the opportunity to study the game and consult with new players on the roster. That experience puts PG in good position to fill a big void left by David West as one of the lead voices (along with George Hill) in the locker room.

No doubt, PG is taking notes with how a variety of the NBA's elite players are becoming bigger power brokers in their respective organizations. LeBron James and Tim Duncan don't go about it the same way, but they both have a huge influence on their teams. But it starts with leading the team and winning.

If PG wants to take his game to that level, now is the time to develop a stronger role among his teammates and lead the process of leading his team back into title contention. He certainly seems to understand that based on a series of Instagram posts bidding farewell to West on Monday.

#PacerNation

A photo posted by Paul George (@ygtrece) on