First-year head coach for the Los Angeles Lakers Darvin Ham has hung his hat on the defensive end with the new-look Purple and Gold. Not only have the Lakers transformed defensively, but Ham has also increased the level of overall buy-in from stars like Anthony Davis.
With the Lakers going from one of the oldest teams last season to a young and vibrant group hungry to win, the energy with Los Angeles has increased with Ham at the helm.
Ham Praises Davis
Heading into the 2022-23 NBA season, the Lakers faithful questioned if Davis could stay healthy. It showed as bookmakers priced futures wagers near the middle of the pack, making the Lakers mid-level longshots to win either the Western Conference or the NBA championship.
While Davis has been dealing with back pain to begin the season, the 6-foot-10-inch big man has made strides in his playing ability as a center for the Lakers. Ham has also publicly praised Davis for his growth as a leader and how he handles injury management.
If the Lakers want to continue to take leaps to win a championship, it can only be possible if Davis can stay healthy for most of the regular season and, of course, the postseason. Ham and Davis understand that, so it is good to see they are working to manage his back to avoid it becoming a more significant issue.
As the Lakers continue to improve and rack up wins, the team finally has something to celebrate. Ham was recently asked if sometimes they take the celebrating too far, but he said he doesn’t have a problem with it as long as they maintain their high level of play.
“Yeah, man, just playing hard, playing together, playing smart,” Ham said. “But we have to have fun as well. It’s still a fun game to play. If you’re lucky enough to play it at this level, I’m not one of those coaches that, as long as we’re not disrespecting the other team, our opponents or our teammates for that matter, by being silly, but there’s nothing wrong with pure and genuine enthusiasm. You see that when things are going well, so I was thrilled to see them enjoying themselves. You tend to play harder, you tend to be more locked in and more engaged when you’re having success. Guys got to see some shots go in, and we’ve been defending at a very high level all year but have been on the short end of the stick offensively, so to speak.”
“But that last game, I was thrilled to see that. I want them to enjoy it, and I have been out there myself once upon a time wanting to do that and make highlight plays; you’re out there with your teammates having fun, and you’re in the thick of the game when there’s a major play whether it’s a block or steal of big rebound or a defensive stop, good pass, good finish. With the amount of work they put in, they can go out there and play enthusiastically and enjoy the game.”
It is worth noting that the Lakers have already received two technical fouls for bench celebrating excessively and stepping out onto the court, violating a new NBA rule. Funny enough, both techs came after Lakers guard Lonnie Walker IV postered his opponent.
The Lakers faithful knows not to get ahead of themselves after the team has found a rhythm of winning some games, but the excitement and high energy that Los Angeles has shown promising signs for Ham’s squad moving forward.
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