Darvin Ham began his first training camp as the Los Angeles Lakers head coach this week, marking the beginning of a new era in L.A.
After facing reporters during Media Day on Monday, Ham and his players got to work the following day, taking part in the first official practice of the 2022-23 Lakers. The 49-year-old has been promising to change L.A.’s game, trying to make the Purple and Gold a defensive powerhouse in the NBA again.
And together with his new coaching staff, Ham began molding the team’s defensive identity immediately after the players arrived at the practice facility. “We got together at 12 p.m. in the theater, kind of went over some slides, a tone we want to set in terms of what our identity will be going into the season in terms of how we approach the game, how we play the game, the defensive mindset, being great teammates, being competitive,” the head coach said.
“And we came out on the court and proceeded to do that. We planted the seeds for what the new Lakers, this new Lakers, this year 2022-23 Lakers will look like.”
Ham said the Lakers will focus primarily on their defense for the time being with specially-designed drills helping the players build the foundation of what he wants the Purple and Gold to become.
“There is an array of drills we do defensively,” Ham explained. “Not so much worried about the offense right now. Just putting them through different drills and scenarios in terms of transition defensive drills, pick-and-roll shell, regular shell drills.
“We have a game we call ‘Cut Throat’ where there’s just these random rules on offense that kind of restrict you but you have to score in order to get on defense and defense is where you get your points by getting stops.”
Lonnie Walker IV and Troy Brown Jr. couldn’t fully participate in practice activities with the rest of the team as the two offseason arrivals grapple with minor injuries at the beginning of training camp. However, Ham said he was happy with the shape of the team and reiterated his optimism ahead of the fast-approaching 2022-23 tip-off.
“Just planting the seed, watering the plant, and hopefully it comes to fruition in a major, major way,” Ham said.
“I feel great about what we have on our roster and I feel great about our guys being available. We got a couple of guys out with some nicks and bruises but for the most part, I think we’re in a good place where we should be right now at this point.”
Ham seeks guidance from former Jazz head coach Quin Snyder
As he is preparing for his head-coaching debut, Ham revealed he’s been seeking advice from some of the NBA head coaches he has a relationship with —particularly former Utah Jazz head coach and once fellow Atlanta Hawks assistant Quin Snyder.
“I talk to Quin Snyder, he’s like my pro bono coaching consultant,” Ham said. “So he calls and checks in with me a couple of times a week.”
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