The Los Angeles Lakers have a lot of talent on their roster, but the majority of that talent is extremely young. Outside of a few veterans, it will be players like D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, and Brandon Ingram, all of whom are 21 years old or younger, who will lead the charge.
One major question that tends to surround younger teams is who will step up and become the leader and right now there is no clear choice for the Lakers.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t some possibilities, however, as head coach Luke Walton appeared on The Big Podcast with Shaq, and said that he believes Russell has shown some leadership capabilities over the summer:
“In summer league I spent the majority of my time with the young guys here, and D’Angelo has been phenomenal as far as being vocal in practice, and doing what we ask him as a coaching staff, and coming in early and after practice and getting work in. So right now he’s shown that he’s capable of being a leader and that he’s working on becoming a leader.”
Walton also noted that Randle seems to be a natural leader, but he hasn’t been around him as much as Russell:
“I think Julius has a natural leadership ability about him, but I haven’t spent a ton of time with Julius yet so it’s tough to say. And then obviously we’re bringing in a few vets that have been around the game a long time so I would hope that at least one or two of them would step up into a leadership role.”
Russell certainly looked like the leader of the Lakers’ summer league team and Randle taking on that role would be nice as well. Someone like Jordan Clarkson, who is slightly older than those two, and is the Lakers’ leading returning scorer could also step up, and as Walton pointed out, veterans such as Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov could take a leadership role.
Walton has spoken about establishing the foundation and culture for the future of the franchise, and someone becoming the leader in the locker room will certainly help that goal.