Lakers News: Darvin Ham Discusses If He Regrets Not Putting Rui Hachimura In Starting Lineup Sooner
Darvin Ham, Lakers
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham made the decision to move Rui Hachimura into the starting lineup on Feb. 3 against the New York Knicks, and that temporary decision has stuck around. Hachimura has started in the Lakers’ last 23 games since then, averaging 15.7 points and 4.7 rebounds on an incredible 58.4% from the field and 45.3% from beyond the arc.

Even better than his individual stats, the Lakers are 16-7 since Ham made that move, including their current season-long five-game winning streak. This success with Hachimura playing alongside the starters begs the question of if he should have been a starter earlier in the season and if it would have made a difference in their current standings chase.

Ham was asked about this, and responded by discussing how decisions like these are made and how, in a long season, it’s hard to find the less-than-obvious lineup answers, via Spectrum SportsNet:

“I mean, things play out the way they play out. The same could be said, when you’re looking and you’re going through different stretches during the season and I think whether it’s injuries or lack of performance, if the guys struggle or are going through a tough stretch, it forces you to make different decisions and you have to activate different lineups and different schemes or whatever that you feel like in the moment are going to help you get through whatever rough stretch you’re going through. Again, injuries, would everyone agree that injuries would affect the rotation or minutes or something like that? Like, it’s a real thing. It’s funny because it was being reported like I’m just sitting in my office and just throwing stuff against the wall with a bunch of healthy players. Like, no. There’s a reason why things were the way they were and I’m just happy we got through those stretches and now we’re in a great place, a great space mentally, spiritually with this group. Physically, we’re coming along. Guys are remaining strong and there’s little nicknacks here and there but we’re getting guys back which is really important and guys who are working their way back, everything is working according to plan and according to schedule. So we feel good about where we are right now.”

Ham then gave his theory as to why Hachimura has been so successful individually since moving into the starting lineup:

“Clarity always helps performance. And so once inserting him into the starting lineup, it gives him a chance where the defense is not just focused on him. All the scheming is done for Bron and AD and D-Lo and even AR. So if you want to technically call him a fifth option, I take that any and every day of the week.”

The Lakers have certainly benefitted from Hachimura’s play since becoming a starter, and while it’s easy to argue that the Lakers may have won a few extra games if the change had been made earlier, it’s impossible to know for sure.

Luckily, the change happened when it did and the Lakers have been able to put together their best stretch of basketball this season.

Rui Hachimura got flashbacks from postseason against Grizzlies

Rui Hachimura’s 32-point, 10-rebound performance against the Grizzlies on Wednesday night spurred the comments from Darvin Ham, but it also prompted the Lakers forward to look back on another dominant performance of his against the same team in last year’s postseason.

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