After the surprising Derek Fisher trade to the Houston Rockets, the Los Angeles Lakers were left with Kobe Bryant as the only captain on the squad. Fisher had be co-captain with Kobe for years and head coach Mike Brown needed to find someone on the roster to take on the added responsibility of being a team leader in the locker room as well as on the basketball floor.
Mike Brown claimed that Pau Gasol was the obvious choice to replace Derek Fisher and it would be hard to argue that fact. Brown talked about making Gasol the co-captain via Sean Deveney of Sporting News:
“He’ll do whatever a captain does,” Brown said. “I am not out there during the game, so whatever a captain should do, he will do. I told the team, we had two captains, obviously, we traded one, and we wanted a second captain. And that second captain is Pau Gasol.”
Small forward Matt Barnes talked about missing Derek Fisher’s leadership:
“That’s one thing we will miss about Derek,” Lakers forward Matt Barnes said. “He’s been through it all, he has seen it all. He would always stay calm, no matter what was going on.”
It will be tough for this Los Angeles Lakers squad to move on without Derek Fisher as he brought so much to the team on and off the court. The veteran’s leadership and ability to hit clutch shots will be impossible to duplicate from here on out. There is no way to replace the five-time NBA champion with what he brought to this storied franchise, but Mike Brown made the right choice in terms of making Pau Gasol the new co-captain.
The Spanish forward talked about his new leadership role and how he will approach it moving forward:
“I think I also have a lot of knowledge, a lot of experience, I have been through a lot of things in my career. I just got to be a little more vocal now that Derek’s somewhere else. I think that we need, Kobe and myself, to step it up.”
It will be interesting to see how Gasol makes this transition and how it will benefit the team for the rest of the season and beyond.