Darvin Ham Wants Lakers To ‘Gang Rebound’ & Focus On Beginning & End Of Defensive Possessions
Darvin Ham, Lakers
Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

It was very clear that the main reason the Los Angeles Lakers were unable to take down the Phoenix Suns on Sunday was their failures on the defensive glass. Darvin Ham’s team was outrebounded 51-to-34 and gave up 14 offensive rebounds, often leading to backbreaking 3-pointers that killed the Lakers’ momentum.

Rebounding has been one of the Lakers’ biggest issues all season long and while the team had done a better job of clearing the defensive glass recently, it popped back up in Phoenix.

That was one of the main focuses during the Lakers’ recent film session and Ham stressed the fact that all five guys on the floor must attack the glass and gang rebound.

“We just watched a huge section on it in our film session, all bad clips. But it’s just a matter of will,” Ham said after Lakers practice on Tuesday. “Getting in position early, doing whatever it is you have to do to secure a rebound and hold a team to one possession. We call it gang rebounding just due to the fact that it’s gonna take all five guys.

“The way the ball is being shot now from 3, rebounds can land just about anywhere. More times than not, it’s around the free throw line or at the elbows, sometimes backside rebounds on the baseline. But you just got to be ready to go get it. You got to have a nose for it and make sure you put bodies on bodies and everyone participates.”

More long shots means more long rebounds and sometimes having inside position as you are taught to do when boxing out, can put you at a disadvantage. This was often the case against Phoenix, which is why Ham is calling on everyone to come back and rebound as the guards are often in the best position on those shots.

But more than anything Ham feels the Lakers must be locked in at the beginning and end of each defensive possession and has optimism the Lakers will improve on that front. “Absolutely. It comes down to keeping everyone engaged to finish out the possession,” Ham added. “We talked about it today, two of the many things that we addressed was being great at the beginning of the defense and being great at the end of the defense.

“Transition defense and defensive rebounding. Everything in the middle, we can figure out. We’ve done a great job guarding the pick-and-roll, we’ve done a great job with our activity, we had a lot of great clips of guys competing on the ball. But again, those first six seconds and those last six seconds are huge.”

Fastbreak points and second-chance points are often the easiest buckets and can completely turn the tide of the game. If Ham can get the Lakers to clamp down in those two areas, their defense will continue to improve, allowing them to get out in transition themselves and be the best version of themselves.

Darvin Ham emphasizes Lakers’ need to do the little things

The Lakers have been up and down since returning from the All-Star break and head coach Darvin Ham is focusing in on what his team needs to do in order to be more consistent and string some wins together. In the eyes of Ham, the Lakers have the talent, but must focus on the little things to be successful.

“I know we got a bunch of weapons, but they’re useless if we don’t do the little things like sprinting hard when we get the ball in transition, not turning it over, maintaining spacing, making sure we get hits on screens to create an advantage and making the simple, easy play. To put it in detail, that’s what I’m talking about.”

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