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Who takes Kobe Bryant's place as Lakers leader? Coach has ideas

April 14, 2013|By Mike Bresnahan
  • Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni expects Steve Nash, Dwight Howard (12) and Pau Gasol (right) to pick up the slack as leaders in the absence of injured star Kobe Bryant.
Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni expects Steve Nash, Dwight Howard (12)… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

Kobe Bryant is done until next season. So who's the Lakers' new leader?

Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni has some thoughts on the subject.

"They're ready to roll and they’re probably relishing the chance to show what they got," he said Sunday, mentioning four Lakers players: Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash and Metta World Peace. "They're all alpha dogs. That’s probably one of the earlier problems that we had -- they’re all alpha dogs."

There's that other small problem of Nash not being ready to play Sunday against San Antonio. He will miss his seventh consecutive game because of a strained hamstring.

But D'Antoni wasn't ready to give up on the season. He was confident there would not be a leadership void.

"We had all kinds of leaders on the team early," D'Antoni said. "We had to sift through people's roles. Everybody’s ready. Pau’s ready to step up, he’s been a No. 1 guy. Dwight’s a No. 1 guy, Steve Nash is a No. 1 guy, Metta has been up there in the hierarchy."

The Lakers (43-37) lead Utah by one game for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.


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