Lakers Hire Former NBA Veteran Darvin Ham

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The most prominent franchise in the NBA finally decided to hire former NBA veteran Darvin Ham as their next head coach. Ham was a player for seven different teams from 1996-to 2005. He was known for his toughness and defense in his limited minutes on the floor. Ham also won the 2004 championship in his final season. This piece will explain Ham’s qualifications, the tough assignment he has in front of him, and the pressure to succeed.

Lakers Hire Former NBA Veteran Darvin Ham

Ham’s Qualifications for the job

Ham’s coaching career began in 2008 when he was the assistant coach for the Thunderbirds, a G-league team. In 2011 Ham was an assistant coach on Mike Brown’s staff for the Lakers. This two-year stint gave him some familiarity with the franchise. From 2013-to 2018, he was an assistant for the Hawks, who made the conference finals multiple times during that stretch. Then, he coached Giannis Antetokounmpo in Milwaukee for the next two years as an assistant to Mike Budenholzer. Coaching Giannis is an integral part of his career because he will coach three stars, Lebron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook, in LA. As one can see, Ham has been an assistant for a decade. Surprisingly, he did not get a head coaching job sooner.

Ham’s tough assignment

The Lakers are a mess at the moment. Their defensive identity is non-existent, and they lack three-point shooting to contend with the league’s best teams. Despite having three stars, the Lakers only won 33 games last season. As a former NBA veteran known for his defense, Ham will establish a new culture in LA similar to that of Ime Udoka in Boston. Can Ham get his players to buy into his system and become a team instead of a group of individuals? The roster must improve for the Lakers to compete, and I hope that they give Ham the power to make some decisions. As a former NBA veteran Ham will know the types of players they need to identify this offseason to improve their team. Players with the identity of P.J. Tucker or Patrick Beverley would help them improve their defense. They also must improve their three-point shooting and add depth to their big man rotation. The Lakers need some insurance in case Davis gets injured again. Anthony Davis averaged 23.2 points per game last year but only played about half the season.

The Western Conference is also exceedingly complex; there are only ten spots for the playoffs. Phoenix, Golden State, Memphis, Denver, Dallas, and Utah have each emerged as contenders recently. Those teams occupy seven areas already, and the Pelicans and Timberwolves are also improving teams that made the playoffs this past season. Therefore the road to competing in the west contains extra challenges.

Pressure to Succeed

LeBron James will be 38 next season; although he still looks like a fantastic player, he cannot do it all alone. At 38, he may only have a few years left in his exceptional career. LA has also recently had a lot of turnover at the head coaching position. In eight years, the franchise has gone through three head coaches, and Frank Vogel was not well respected in their locker room. The Lakers have three MVP-level players and must make it work soon if they want them to stay in town. Or they can trade Westbrook for some better shooters/defenders, but I do not know if they are willing to part from him. The Lakers have won 17 championships throughout their incredible history, but only one in the last few years.

I wish former NBA veteran Darvin Ham the best in LA, but he is taking over a job that many people did not want in a place where winning is everything. The keys to Ham’s success will be roster control and buy-in from the players to play defense. The defensive side of the ball is not valued as much anymore, but it is necessary if LA wants to compete for championships again.