Los Angeles Lakers vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka deserves an immense amount of praise for putting together the team that is currently the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed.
Despite many thinking he would not be able to succeed, and some still being skeptical, Pelinka has proven he can run his own team in a successful way, with the Lakers being one of the top contenders to take home the 2020 championship.
On the surface, the Lakers do not have the deepest or most talented roster outside of their superstar duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. However, the leadership of those two — as well as immediate team chemistry — has allowed them to win in ways many did not predict.
Pelinka credited the lead by example mentality of James and Davis while also praising the camaraderie of the entire roster, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“His leadership with Anthony in the bubble, these guys are leading with their actions. I think you could see it in our first scrimmage game. We had the most together, excited, supportive player bench I’ve seen. These guys are so together, they’re all on the same page, they’re all vying for the same thing and the camaraderie has been incredible. When you’re in an environment like this, when the guys are around each other and having fun, that’s when you know you have something special. We have a special chemistry.”
This type of team culture always starts at the top. Davis and James’ incredible leadership would only be possible with a good foundation helping them. Owner Jeanie Buss, Pelinka, and head coach Frank Vogel have created a family-like culture that has helped the Lakers feel comfortable even though it was a brand new roster.
Pelinka is not one to credit himself for success, but there’s no doubt he’s a part of the Lakers finishing the season 52-19 in his first year as the sole leader in the front office.
Now, however, the Lakers will need to tap into some of that chemistry to bounce back from a loss to the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1 of their first-round series.
Pelinka demonstrating team-first approach in practice
Part of being a great leader is showing that you’re willing to work with your players, something that Pelinka has embraced in the bubble.
He and Vogel demonstrated flex staffing by being practice cones when the team did not have any early on the bubble process.
“He’s been wonderful. He’s led our group with the encouragement that everybody is going to be in flex staffing and willing to do any job to help out,” Vogel recently said. “He’s been out rebounding a little bit, and I actually used he and myself in one of our drills.”
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