There has been a lot of discussion as to which players will step up and fill the leadership void left on the Los Angeles Lakers due to the retirement of Kobe Bryant. Most have looked towards point guard D’Angelo Russell, including head coach Luke Walton, but another leader has apparently emerged in veteran Lou Williams.
This is Williams’ 12th year in the NBA and second with the Lakers so he has plenty of experiences to pass along to the young Lakers and they are eager to listen and soak up his knowledge.
According to Mark Medina of OC Register, Walton sees Williams as a natural leader and that everyone listens when he chooses to talk:
“He’s more of a natural leader than he realizes,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “He’s quiet and doesn’t always talk. But when he does, everyone listens.”
Walton also credits Williams for helping to get players back on track and always keeping a level head:
“Lou does a good job of keeping it pretty level. He has the respect of all of his teammates,” Walton said. “When he speaks up and pulls guys to the side it helps bring the team back to where we need to be.”
The Lakers have been very good about having veterans around the team to balance out the youth. Guys like Williams, Luol Deng, Timofey Mozgov, and Jose Calderon bring a lot to the table in addition to what they do on the court. Having those vets also helps Walton as a coach since this is his first foray as well and any extra leadership help Williams and others provide is surely appreciated.
On the court, Williams continues to be extremely productive as he is second on the team in scoring while shooting an impressive 46.9 percent and a team-leading 43.5 percent from three-point range.