Lakers News: Darvin Ham Enjoying First Postseason Run As Head Coach
Darvin Ham, Lakers
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Against all odds, the Los Angeles Lakers have made the Western Conference Finals in Darvin Ham’s first season as head coach. It’s been an up-and-down rookie year for Ham, who began the year 2-10 but finished the regular season with a 9-3 record.

Ham acknowledged last week that LeBron James and Anthony Davis have been helpful throughout his first season, serving as his rock. The two leaders are the longest-tenured players on the Lakers, which LeBron said allowed them to help Ham on the court and build a strong relationship with him.

It’s been a rollercoaster ride for Ham in his inaugural season. Moves at the trade deadline led to a playoff push heating up and becoming more realistic. He recently reflected on how he’s enjoying his first postseason run as head coach.

“It’s been great. Obviously just with the group we have, it’s a fun group to be around and it’s a fun group to coach. Again, they’re very inquisitive, they ask all the right questions, really coming up with great suggestions,” Ham said. “And Bron, seeing his leadership, seeing AD’s leadership, speaking up in meetings and talking about the right mental approach we need to have and how we need to be locked in on the details.

“And last but not least, understanding that things are not always gonna be perfect. As long as we bring the aggression through our competitiveness and our togetherness, then things will usually work themselves out in our favor. And so just being able to experience all of that in this seat, I feel blessed. I thank God every day when I wake up and I’m just ready to get to more. More games, more scenarios and try to put the work in so we’re putting our best foot forward.”

Even when the Lakers roster wasn’t up to par, Ham still had the team competing and in positions to win games against superior teams. There were spurts with strong play that didn’t translate to wins due to the roster. Now that the team has improved, Ham’s been able to showcase his coaching style.

The job’s not finished yet, but winning a title this season means Ham will be the third rookie coach in Lakers history to win a championship. It’s a goal that seemed wildly unrealistic in November 2022.

Western Conference Finals begin on Tuesday

After a hard-fought series against the defending champion Golden State Warriors in which the Lakers won in six games, they now face an even tougher test in the No. 1 seeded Denver Nuggets.

The Western Conference Finals begin on Tuesday in Denver, so Ham and his staff do not have much time to celebrate before they start game-planning for Nikola Jokic and Co.

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