Lakers News: Bucks Head Coach Mike Budenholzer Praises Darvin Ham’s Leadership & Character
(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

On Friday, Darvin Ham reunited with the Milwaukee Bucks for the first time since leaving the team to become the Los Angeles Lakers head coach.

And Ham’s return couldn’t have gone better for the former Bucks assistant as the Lakers registered a statement win over Milwaukee, beating one of the top Eastern Conference teams 133-129.

Many praised Lakers governor Jeanie Buss for hiring the 49-year-old, who’s been highly regarded for his work ethic, vision, and coaching style. And despite a tough start to the 2022-23 season, L.A. is reaping rewards for their head-coaching selection as the Purple and Gold have been one of the most efficient teams in the NBA over the last three weeks.

After Friday’s win over the Bucks, Milwaukee’s head coach — and Ham’s long-term mentor — Mike Budenholzer offered his former apprentice plenty of kind words, emphasizing his leadership and character, via Spectrum SportsNet’s Mike Trudell:

“[Darvin’s] a leader. Even as an assistant here, a great leader. He has an unbelievable combination of toughness and grit. Nobody wants to be on the wrong side of Darvin. At the same time, he’s incredibly caring and thoughtful.”

Ham learned the ropes under Budenholzer for nine years before taking charge of the Lakers last summer. They worked on the Atlanta Hawks for half a decade and later moved to Milwaukee together in 2018, winning an NBA championship with the Bucks three years later.

However, Ham’s NBA coaching career started in L.A. where he served as the Purple and Gold’s assistant between 2011-2013.

Ham hopes effort & quality of Lakers’ play in win over Bucks wasn’t ‘one-game thing’

Ham appreciated the Lakers’ effort in his return to Milwaukee, leading to the much-needed win over the Bucks. However, the head coach said he hopes L.A. can maintain the same aggressiveness and level of play in future games, even if the matchup is less glamorous.

“Just the focus, man. Attention to detail,” Ham said of what the Lakers showed in Milwaukee. “Those guys chirping in the huddle, communicating with one another. Defensive coverages, offensive sets we wanted to run.

“Just everybody being engaged. And again, this just can’t be a one-game thing. You know, I mean, it’s easy to get up for a team like the Bucks. It’s easy to get up for the Celtics, it’s easy to get up for Golden State. This is something we have to do every time we step on the floor.”

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