With Kobe Bryant now running the show full time over at Kobe Inc., many have begun to wonder who will be taking his spot as the undisputed leader of the Los Angeles Lakers. D’Angelo Russell seems to be the logical choice with the point guard showing flashes of his potential during his rookie season last year.
Russell may appear to be the obvious choice for the Lakers new leader on the floor, but he’s got a lot of work to do to fill Kobe’s shoes in Los Angeles. Although Russell may have a long way to go before he’s officially dubbed the face of the storied franchise, his teammates believe he’s come a long way and can assume a leadership role on this team.
According to Mark Medina of the OC Register, Marcelo Huertas is confident Russell is ready for the challenge ahead.
“He’s ready to get that extra step,” Huertas said. “He’s ready for this new challenge.”
Metta World Peace also sees Russell being willing to take on the challenge heading into his second season with the Lakers, via Medina.
“He wants that challenge,” World Peace said. “He’s not shying away from that role. The organization is building around a core. You need somebody to come in and want to take that role.”
Although the expectations won’t be high for the Lakers in the first year of the post-Kobe era in Los Angeles, Russell will be watched closely during his sophomore season. New head coach Luke Walton will be looking for his players to step up and embrace the challenge of leading this team into the future.
Russell has been tabbed as a player that may have the qualities to be a great leader for this squad, but only time will tell. Russell will certainly have every opportunity to lead this Lakers team for many seasons.