The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly actively looking for a franchise player to build around on once Kobe Bryant exits the NBA team for good. With the current season as the last hoorah for the Black Mamba, fans of the Julius Randle squad eagerly await who among the stars will rise to the occasion. At the moment, the Los Angeles Lakers roster is filled to the brim with young and fresh talent. However, who will be chosen to taken on the responsibilities of the great Kobe Bryant?
Throughout the NBA season, the rise and fall of D'Angelo Russell bore witness to the adjustment pains and determination of a young basketball star trying to make it in the big league. While some criticized Byron Scott for limiting the minutes of Russell in the hardwood court, others appreciated the effort as a way for the head coach to not strain the rookie. However, the dominance of fellow rookies Kristaps Porzingis in the New York Knicks and Karl-Anthony Towns in the Minnesota Timberwolves eventually affected Russell.
Months of being hounded by rift rumors in the Los Angeles Lakers locker room, Russell now emerges as one of the most promising basketball stars in the NBA. In fact, the rookie recently shared in an interview his desire to become the face of the team. Apart from disclosing that goal, Russell also revealed his dream for the team that will make him it's franchise face.
"I'd rather be a player that a franchise is being built around, and it's a successful build," Russell said via Bleacher Report. He added, "Winning playoff games, knowing that we're one of the teams that's going to win, knowing that when you play against the Lakers you've got to worry about losing. Not like right now."
However, Russell clarified that he has no plans of becoming a substitute for any big name in the league. To be more specific, the rookie pointed out that he does not intend to become the next Kobe Bryant for the Los Angeles Lakers. Instead, Russell wants to develop his own trademark style.
"I don't want people to just think, 'He's got some Kobe-like [characteristics]. I don't want to go there. I want to be me-and people know it's me," he said. Russell added, "I don't want: 'He's trying to act like Kobe' or 'His answers are like something Kobe would've said.' Nah. If it's me, I'm going to say it."
Meanwhile, Scott appears pleased with the development of Russell. The Los Angeles Lakers head coach noted that the rookie will still need to learn a lot of things about the league. However, Scott is confident that Russell is capable of achieving great things in the NBA as long as he keeps his focus.
"Everybody's learning curve is different," Scott shared via ESPN. He added, "With D'Angelo, he's starting to get it on both ends of the floor. He still has times where he loses that focus every now and then, but you expect that from a 20-year-old."