After a three-game road trip, the Los Angeles Lakers returned home where they hosted the Memphis Grizzlies. Without Kobe Bryant and implementing a new offensive system, the Lakers lost their eight consecutive game despite D’Angelo Russell’s efforts, 112-95.
Following the loss, head coach Byron Scott discussed the lack of leadership when Bryant is not playing according to Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters:
Byron Scott: "When No. 24 (Kobe Bryant, out sore shoulder) is not there, I really saw the lack of leadership that we do have."
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) February 27, 2016
With D’Angelo Russell the starting point guard, some are looking at him to provide leadership. However, the rookie believes he does not have the credibility or experience according to Bill Oram of the Orange County Register:
Russell: "I don’t really have the credibility or experience, so what I say goes through one ear and out the other."
— Bill Oram (@billoram) February 27, 2016
While the Lakers have struggled without Bryant on the court, it is a challenge for a young player like Russell to try to establish himself as a leader considering the circumstances. Although Russell has the confidence and is viewed as the future face of the franchise, it is difficult to lead at this stage of his career and coming off the bench at times.
With 22 games remaining in the season, the Lakers are headed to the NBA draft lottery where they hope to keep their top-three protected pick. However, with the young core of Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson playing major minutes, it will be fun to see how they develop for the remainder of the season.