Darvin Ham Discusses Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo & Damian Lillard Pairing, Who Will Make Debut Against Lakers On Sunday
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Darvin Ham is entering his second season as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. Prior to that, he spent five seasons as an assistant coach for the Milwaukee Bucks and was a part of their championship run during the 2020-21 season. The Bucks recently made what was by far the biggest splash of the NBA offseason when they shipped out Jrue Holiday and more to acquire All-NBA point guard Damian Lillard.

The Bucks clearly felt they had a closing championship window, and with recent quotes from superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo seemingly putting pressure on the front office, they reacted with the Lillard deal. Antetokounmpo and Lillard now sits as arguably the most dynamic one-two punch in the sport.

Ham, now in charge of his own elite one-two punch in Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, still looks back fondly on his time with Milwaukee. And he is happy for the entire organization for landing a star like Lillard, who is expected to make his Bucks debut alongside Antetokounmpo against the Lakers on Sunday night.

“I’m happy for that franchise. That franchise means the world to me,” Ham said. “I’m not sitting here without several people within that franchise. Started with Coach Bud. Unfortunately, circumstance where he’s no longer coaching the team, but I think they did an awesome job in selecting Adrian [Griffin]. He’s another one that has paid a ton of dues. Worked for some great coaches, played for some great coaches. I think he’s going to do a great job over there, and they’re doing what championship-caliber teams are doing and what a consistent contender does, and that’s trying to continuously make their team better.

“I know it probably hurt them to lose Jrue [Holiday], but to get Dame in there, that’s going to be a hell of a one-two punch. You’ve got Khris [Middleton] and Brook [Lopez] and those other guys. Pat [Connaughton], Bobby [Portis]. It’ll be interesting to see how it all comes together, but knowing the type of players and people those guys are, they’re going to work their butts off to make sure that it comes together. It’ll be fun to see and match up with them.”

Sometimes, in order to win championships, teams have to make difficult decisions like trading away an All-NBA defensive point guard and cultural leader like Holiday. Swapping Holiday for Lillard could take Milwaukee to another level offensively.

Ham is no stranger to what it takes to win an NBA championship, and he is clearly happy to see his former team taking the necessary steps to stay atop the NBA world. Ham will likely be rooting for Milwaukee throughout the year, unless of course they’re matched up against the Lakers like they are on Sunday even if it’s just a preseason game.

Darvin Ham absent from GM survey

The 2023-24 edition of the NBA GM survey was released earlier this week, and the Lakers did not find themselves near the top of any rankings. Especially not Ham, who was left out of every single coach-related category, not receiving a single vote in any of the major questions posed to general managers around the league.

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