It’s no secret — Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham has been busy. Whether it’s dealing with Russell Westbrook news or doing media appearances, the Saginaw native is occupied with head coaching duties.
Luckily for him, he’s been able to slowly put together his coaching staff. A Familiar face in Phil Handy stayed on while Milwaukee Bucks video coordinator Schuyler Rummer, Brooklyn Nets assistant Jordan Ott and Atlanta Hawks assistant Chris Jent have all been hired by Ham. Ball don’t lie fans may be rejoicing too as Rasheed Wallace is reportedly still in the mix to be hired on staff.
But, most of Ham’s work has focused on setting a tone for the franchise. He emphasized competitiveness, togetherness and accountability while being interviewed for the job. In his first comments as head coach, he spoke about not putting a ceiling on the Lakers’ success and how it starts with a daily process.
The process for Ham means implementing that new tone from the ground up. He spent time working with the Summer League group during their first practice, then was present in Las Vegas for games. Ham shared his reasoning in an interview on ESPN with Vince Carter and Rosalyn Gold-Onwude:
“I thought it was an important time. When we started out Summer League practice back in L.A., I made sure it was my voice that they heard first in implementing our principles on both sides of the ball. From transition defense to half-court defense, pick and roll defense, post defense, our defensive rebounding principles then that leading into how we want to run the floor, our four out, one in spacing. Naming our spots in the different areas from who’s pushing the attack to the different running habits, who’s in trail, who’s in the strong corner, weak corner, slasher to the dunker. I rolled my sleeves up that first day, that first practice and was all over it. But that’s the reason why you put together a great staff you know Phil Handy stayed on with me, hired Chris Jent out of Atlanta. Got my man Jordan Ott who worked with us in Atlanta but moved on to Brooklyn and he’s just coming over from Brooklyn. And the guy who I brought with me Schuyler Rimmer who was in Atlanta worked with Giannis every day for the past four years and so we have a really, along with some of the other hold over guys. Dru Anthrop and Jon Pastorek and all of these guys that are pitching in and trying to implement the system as well as learning themselves. So it was important for me to be here, touch the players, see the people, hang out with Rob. And we had some of our guys who we just signed and some of the guys who were on the roster last year that came out voluntarily and did some individual workouts and so it would just set a great tone for what we’re going to do going forward.”
Ham’s willingness to show face in Las Vegas emphasizes his excitement to work. Lakers owner Jeanie Buss has received rave reviews for hiring the first-year head coach, mentioning she was always impressed by his work ethic.
That work ethic has been on display so far, traveling to Vegas to spend time with Summer League players.
Revealing that players voluntarily came out is a good sign too. The Lakers’ Big 3 has reportedly committed to each other, but having a commitment from players 1-15 makes a difference. Ham has highlighted the importance of role players to L.A.’s success.
So far, hiring Ham has been a Lakers home run.
Ham says Westbrook was one of the things that excited him about being Lakers head coach
Even amid the wildly swirling trade rumors surrounding Russell Westbrook, Ham still expects the guard to be a starter next season. Ham has been a key supporter of Westbrook, making it clear he still has a lot left in his take to contribute.
The new head coach doubled down on his affinity for the former MVP, telling Showtime’s All The Smoke Westbrook excited him about the job. The two have developed a strong relationship so far, but it’s not guaranteed they’ll be together throughout the season.
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