With Kobe Bryant no longer on the Lakers, realistically speaking (spiritually he is still there), the team is in search of their next captain. Someone who will keep the team calm when things get rowdy on the court. Someone who can regroup the team when they begin to lose composure. Someone who won’t let his emotions get the best of him.
Veteran players Luol Deng and Jose Calderon will likely take on these leadership responsibilities throughout the season. They are high-character guys who often mentor younger players and lead both vocally and by example.
But the guy the Lakers want to see emerge into such a role is D’angelo Russell.
Russell had a nice rookie season but his relationship with former head coach, Byron Scott, was nonexistent. With new head coach, Luke Walton, the relationship is there, encompassed with trust and freedom, to a certain extent.
Russell is going to be a good player, however, the infamous video-leaking situation with Nick Young last season caused concern about his maturity level.
Nonetheless, the incident is behind Russell, now, and Walton expects him to grow both as a player and more importantly, as a person.
Russell, along with the other young Lakers, is an instrumental part of the rebuild for this team and being a point guard, the starting point guard in his case, Russell is expected to be a leader. Watching him develop into one will surely be a great thing.