With Kobe Bryant set to retire after the 2015-16 season, the question of who will take the reins for the Los Angeles Lakers is still up in the air. Many are hoping that player comes in the upcoming draft, as LSU’s Ben Simmons is the prize.
Lakers fans everywhere are hoping the team gets the top pick of the draft and takes Simmons, an all-around talent who has drawn comparisons to LeBron James and Magic Johnson.
While Simmons could indeed be the next star if the Lakers are fortunate enough to land the top pick, Kobe believes that it will be about him taking on the task as opposed to any team ‘handing him the keys’ according to Bill Oram of the Orange County Register:
Kobe on Lakers possibly drafting Ben Simmons: "It’s just a matter of what he wants to take on. It’s not about handing over keys."
— Bill Oram (@billoram) December 21, 2015
When it comes to talent, Simmons certainly fits the bill as he is dominating the college ranks. He is currently averaging 18.7 points, 13.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 2.2 steals, and 1.4 blocks per game.
In addition to his obvious talent, Simmons was also a high school teammate of current Laker, D’Angelo Russell at Monteverde Academy in Florida. That is sure to appeal to Lakers followers hoping for a reunion that could lead the Lakers back to championship glory.
Ultimately, Kobe’s words don’t just apply to Simmons, but to anyone who would become the face of the franchise including Russell and Julius Randle. The Lakers will have to be lucky to land Simmons, however, as the team is unlikely to catch the Philadelphia 76ers for the worst record in the NBA.