What makes the Los Angeles Lakers’ playoff run that much more impressive is the fact that it happened with a first-year head coach. Darvin Ham was under a lot of pressure taking over a Lakers team led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but he handled it extremely well for someone in his first head coaching position.
There were certainly some tough stretches throughout the season, especially early on as the Lakers struggled out the gate and looked on their way to being one of the most disappointing teams of the year. Of course they would eventually right the ship and one thing that Anthony Davis credited Ham for was staying positive throughout.
“Yeah, he always remained positive, no matter what,” Davis said during his exit interview. “Even in the rough patches, he always preached positive, positivity. You know, make sure that we understood that it was a long season, and you don’t find that in a lot of coaches, especially a first-year coach, first-year head coach.”
The pressure that is on the Lakers to succeed is unlike anything else in the NBA. The expectation is always to win at a high level and that is very tough for many to deal with, but Ham handled everything exceptionally. Mid-season deals changed the trajectory of the Lakers’ season and Davis again praised Ham for his communication with everyone throughout.
“He helped us through a lot, all the players, new guys coming in, communicating with them about what they want,” Davis added. “He’s definitely a player’s coach. And it’s great, first-year coach coming into the Western Conference Finals, big time. Obviously, we didn’t want it to end that way but we definitely have a lot of respect for him in that locker room.”
Having the respect of the players and, particularly the veterans and leaders of the locker room is absolutely crucial and Ham has earned that with the work he put in during his first season as head coach of the Lakers. There will certainly be some moves made to the roster, but one thing that won’t change is the energy and work ethic that Ham puts in.
Darvin Ham focused on bringing Lakers 18th Championship banner
Even though it was an impressive first year with the Lakers for Ham, the head coach has not lost sight of the ultimate goal for the franchise which is always winning another championship.
“I’m really humbled by how far we were able to go after such a challenging start, but again we didn’t come here just to win a number of amount of games or make it through the first round or go deep in the playoffs,” Ham said. “We came together to make history and that process is ongoing and I have all the faith in the world.
“And Rob, and he and I getting together really going through the roster, going through the opportunities that’s out there starting with the draft to add to this team and continue to trampoline from this season and not just be satisfied because we turned it around in this first year. No, this is a step-by-step process and I’m looking forward to working with Rob and Jeanie and building something special and really getting to the ultimate point of achieving our goal and that’s number 18 once again.”
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