After their eighth straight loss, this one another blowout at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies, the Los Angeles Lakers have been left with a number of questions heading down the homestretch of the season. One of those questions has been about leadership on the team when Kobe Bryant isn’t on the floor and Larry Nance Jr. is one who believes there is a void.
Kobe is the player who everyone follows on this team, but with him retiring after this season, someone will have to fill that void.
After the loss to the Grizzlies, Larry Nance Jr. spoke about the lack of leadership when Kobe isn’t on the floor and noted that he doesn’t believe the Lakers would have lost by as much as they did if Kobe was out there:
“That’s where we’re kind of lacking at this point. A lot of guys are hesitant to step into that role because obviously that’s 24’s role. I do think leadership is something we lack and I think, in fact I know, with [Kobe] out on the court I don’t think [the deficit] gets to 30.”
Nance also suggested that with so many players around the same age, the young Lakers might need to do a leadership by committee:
“There’s a lot of guys that peek their head in and try every now and again, but it’s something that, with guys that are so young, we’re all the same age, it’s gotta be something by committee at first.”
The Lakers don’t have long to figure out who the true leader of the team will be in the future and there are only 22 games remaining with Kobe in uniform. Someone like D’Angelo Russell, who is viewed as the point guard of the future would be the natural suggestion, but someone like Jordan Clarkson, who is older and has more NBA experience could work as well.
There are a number of different possibilities as far as leadership, but someone will have to step up and take on that responsibility soon.