Everyone knows that Kobe Bryant is the locker room leader for the Lakers. However, Mike D’Antoni believes the reemergence of Pau Gasol as a vocal leader and his personal bond with Bryant will benefit the locker room heading into this season.
In an interview with ESPN LA’s Dave McMenamin, D’Antoni first discussed how Gasol being able to win championships with Bryant created a unique bond of trust:
“When you win together, you create this bond of trust and it goes both ways. I think Pau understands Kobe and can give him a lot of room, at the same time, I think Kobe understands Pau and where he’s coming from.”
When the two best players are on the same page, it allows everyone to play to their strengths and creates an environment where everyone is free to communicate:
“The bottom line is, everybody plays to their strengths. Everybody has their egos and when you trust each other, then things can be said that get you back in line a little bit.”
D’Antoni says the biggest thing for this year’s team is to trust each other, which didn’t happen last season:
“We didn’t have a lot of that last year. It just didn’t happen. We had a lot of people that didn’t trust each other and that kind of was our woes. So, this year, we’re looking to improve that a lot.”
Throughout the off-season, numerous players have discussed the importance of team chemistry. The Lakers clearly didn’t have that last season and it showed every time they stepped on the floor.
Led by Kobe and Gasol, if everyone is able to get on the same page this season and understands their roles, it can give the team that extra lift of energy to push through and surprise teams.
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