With the 2021-22 NBA season well underway, the Los Angeles Lakers are yet to show signs of becoming the scary team that they were touted to be prior to the season. On paper, the purple and gold look amazing, but when it comes to performing on the court, they are yet to succeed in that department.
It became even more evident after the Lakers' embarrassing defeat against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Lakers fell back to .500 after a 108-95 defeat, despite having a good start to the game. As the game progressed, it felt like the flame inside the players never lit to its full extent.
Former Los Angeles Lakers Kwame Brown talked about it. Brown had a simple explanation for the team's struggles. Brown explained:
"So they keep this storyline with the Lakers that’s really not a storyline - they suck. That’s some of the stuff, man RIP Kobe, one thing about Kobe he didn’t do the type of friendly s**t with you after a loss like that. When he sees you again, your a** better be on the court. You better not be in the training room. You better not be getting your ankles taped. You need to be out there shooting some shots or Kobe going to be on you.”
Brown continued, “That’s what I think the Lakers are missing. They’re missing that leadership. Everyone’s so friendly, they’re slapping hands. That’s one thing about Kobe. He’ll be your friend sometimes. But when you’re not doing your job, he’ll be on you."
During his playing days, there were many occasions when Kobe was criticized for his relationship with his teammates. Well, whatever methods the Mamba used, he was still a phenomenal leader.
As Brown mentioned, it feels like the Lakers are missing someone with that mentality. Someone in the locker room needs to take up that role to help the Lakers make a comeback and at least try to enter the top 4 seeds when the season is over.
The players who might fill that role could be LeBron James or Russell Westbrook, not Anthony Davis. Brown himself talked about Davis not being a leader after an altercation with Dwight Howard earlier in the season.