Washington Wizard's GM Tommy Sheppard appears to be handing the reigns of the Washington Wizards on the court leadership to Bradley Beal. Sheppard sees a more mature Beal now, and the (now Lakers) point guard Russell Westbrook appears to be the reason why. Per Chase Hughes of NBC Washington, Sheppard had this to say.
"I see more and more of him pulling guys aside quietly and giving them points. He's never going to be this loud, rah-rah screaming guy. But when he does speak up, everybody listens for sure. I just see that continued growth in him. I attribute most of it to he sees what's needed and he takes care of it. Russell was a very vocal guy. Russell's not here anymore, so I think Bradley adjusted a little to the room and said 'hey, I need to speak up a little bit more often than I did.' He's done that. That's something he figured out on his own and he's done on his own. It's just something I noticed."
Westbrook has grown a lot since his days at UCLA. In a past interview, the late Kobe Bryant said that Westbrook is the player whose mentality most reminded him of himself. Westbrook's intensity has always been there. To say he's a passionate player would be understating it. Over the course of Westbrook's career it is clear from this quote from Sheppard that Westbrook has tried to grow into a player and leader who leads his team, not drags it with him. Michael Jordan had to learn to do this, as did Bryant, as did a lot of other high-intensity NBA legends.
The question only stands as to whether Westbrook can be a co-leader with LeBron James. James has long been this Laker squad's on the court general. With Westbrook now in LA to help with floor-running duties, it appears the general will now have a major general. Only time will tell if Westbrook's leadership can perfectly blend with James, as well as with the other veterans on this Laker team.