Darvin Ham Reflects On Emotions Of First Season As Head Coach & Reveals Message To Lakers Players
Darvin Ham, Lakers
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham saw it all in his first year as the lead man. From a 2-10 start to a deep run in the Western Conference Finals, his rookie season as head coach came to an end with a loss against the Denver Nuggets on Monday night.

It was a rollercoaster year that didn’t end in the way many in the organization hoped for — new space being made for another championship banner in the Crypto.com Arena rafters. Ham, though, reflected with a positive outlook when summarizing the season, focusing on growth of the team.

“I just think it’s great. It was nothing but growth, nothing but an education, and you know, staying with it, trying to remain consistent,” Ham said. “I told those guys their consistency of coming to the gym from the time when we had pieces, talented pieces on the roster, but still some that did not necessarily fit perfectly together to the point where we did find the right pieces and they fit smoothly; the culture that was set, reset, in terms of competitiveness, togetherness, accountability. You know, us coming to the gym each and every day trying to get better at something and being focused on getting better at something, was nothing short of amazing.

“It’s just been a hell of a year. The support I got, myself, personally, my staff, from Jeanie, Rob. To go through some of those tough times early, you know, we don’t get that support, we probably don’t make it to this point. But again, everybody pulling the rope in the same direction. It was a very, very special year.”

Even during the Lakers’ poor start to the season, Ham still had the team competing and playing hard. His addition to the team brought a strong impact and his loss from the Milwaukee Bucks evidenced Ham’s importance. Bucks forward Bobby Portis said Ham leaving the Bucks staff hurt them as they bounced out of the first round.

Ham gave it his all into the season. He kept his emotions real immediately after the loss against Denver, sharing what he told the team in the locker room.

“I just told them to take some time to take stock of what this meant. I thanked them again for the season, for supporting me, for communication, giving it a chance to work by buying in, and then everyone coming in and having a focus to get better,” he said. “From a mental/spiritual standpoint, I have the best job in the world. I thank God every day. It’s tough to really be upset. I’m extremely disappointed, but I’d be really distraught and upset if we didn’t come out and compete. No one wants to get swept. Don’t, you know, get me confused. Like no one, especially within myself, within that locker room, everyone we have in our building, no one wants to go out like this.

“But the thing that gives me joy is the fact that we competed every night. We competed every game in this series. Coming into next year, there’s going to be expectations, as it should be within this organization, and what this organization has meant to the NBA and to the world of sports as a whole. I didn’t come here to have wins, have more wins than losses or make a playoff round one or make a playoff run. I came to win.”

There will be strong momentum heading into next season depending on the roster construction. However, general manager Rob Pelinka said he will prioritize roster continuity and keeping the core together this offseason.

LeBron says Lakers fell short of goal of winning the championship in 2022-23

Lakers star LeBron James put together a vintage performance in Game 4 against the Nuggets. He had 40 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, playing in all but four seconds of the game.

Even with the strong performance, the Lakers managed to lose a tight one, ending their season. LeBron emphasized the loss falls short of the Lakers’ goal of winning a championship.

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