Darvin Ham was the lead assistant for the Milwaukee Bucks during their championship season in 2020-21. He was a prominent name for many coaching vacancies including the Los Angeles Lakers, where he would ultimately land his first head coaching gig last summer.
There were some bumps along the road that come with every rookie head coach in terms of finding a consistent rotation, play-calling, schemes, etc. With that being the case, the team dug themselves a hole early with their record and it was hard to gauge Ham as a coach without pieces that make sense around the two stars of Anthony Davis and LeBron James.
When the pieces improved after some trade deadline moves, the Lakers began to see immediate success and were fortunate to land themselves in the Play-In Tournament to give themselves a chance at the postseason. Fast forward and they were able to get all the way to the Western Conference Finals, which many Laker fans did not envision after what they saw in the early part of the year.
Despite falling short in the Western Conference Finals, Ham is eager to bring the 18th championship to Los Angeles and ultimately give the Lakers the most titles in the league, via #thisleague UNCUT podcast with Marc Stein and Chris Haynes:
“To go get No. 18 in the purple in gold, I’m working my ass off. I’m trying to give us each and every opportunity and there is nothing more than I would want is to win a championship trophy. Jeanie Buss and Rob Pelinka have been nothing short of amazing to me. They’ve given me this platform, they’ve supported me, stayed solid through the hard times early on… The support they’ve given me, it empowers me. There is nothing more than I would want to hoist that trophy up with those two individuals [Jeanie Buss and Rob Pelinka] and our team and organization, as a whole.”
In only Ham’s first season as coach, he was four wins away from getting that opportunity but it unfortunately did not come together. However, being that close from getting No. 18 sure will serve a motivator for the team heading into the 2023-24 season.
With the additions of Gabe Vincent and Taurean Prince while retaining D’Angelo Russell, Rui Hachimura and Austin Reaves, the front office and coaching staff believes this team has a legit shot to go all the way.
This Lakers team has a good amount of size at all positions, capable defenders and shooters. With a few more additions to a conference finalist, Ham and his staff will have to figure out a new rotation with some new faces, but it is a good problem to have.
Ham talks about Michael Malone’s comments and Lakers’ rivalry with Nuggets
While Ham is wanting to bring that 18th championship, he acknowledges that their little rivalry with Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone and the team is not over. Rivalries are not too common in the NBA anymore, but the Lakers and Nuggets seem to be heading in that direction.
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