Leadership is one of the most important factors in the success of teams in the NBA, and the Los Angeles Lakers have one of the best now in LeBron James. Still the best player in the NBA, James has no problem corralling his teammates to follow his lead.
Of course, as important as one player leading the way can be, he can’t be the only one. Kobe Bryant was the unquestioned leader of the Lakers, but Derek Fisher also provided that veteran voice the team needed.
The question for this version of the Lakers is who else will step up in that role. Head coach Luke Walton has an idea of who could do that as he discussed during the “Evening with the Lakers.”
Walton specifically named Josh Hart and Rajon Rondo as players who could potentially step up as natural leaders for the Lakers, outside of James:
“With the young teams we’ve had the last two years, we’ve been pushing on them, ‘Leadership, leadership, leadership. You have to find it.’ So it will be nice for them to continue to grow in that role. I think Josh Hart has natural leadership ability. But it’s all going to start with LeBron. I think below that, from talking to Rondo and talking to coaches that have coached him, he’d probably be the next one naturally. From there, we’ll see how it goes.”
Rondo is a pretty obvious choice as a leader on the team considering how long he’s been in the NBA. The respect he has as one of the most intelligent players in the league, and the fact that he has no issues speaking up about anything. Hart on the other hand, is slightly more surprising.
Many would expect someone like Brandon Ingram or Kyle Kuzma to inherit that role, but Hart is standing out. Hart had a very impressive summer in which he was the unquestioned leader of the Summer League team, and Walton believes that could carry over into the regular season.