Lakers News: Darvin Ham Explains Why Rui Hachimura Has Worked In Starting Lineup
Rui Hachimura, Lakers, Pacers
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers built their roster with the intention of being the toughest and most physical team on the floor.

With LeBron James and Anthony Davis in the front court, Ham has leaned into their size advantage and is the largest reason why they have turned around their 2023-24 season. When Jarred Vanderbilt went down to injury, Ham kept the front court large by inserting Rui Hachimura.

Hachimura had experience with the rest of the starters after playing alongside them last year and the change has benefitted the team.

Ham explained why he thinks Hachimura has thrived as a starter. “I just think the attention that LeBron and AD both draw on the offensive end, Rui is a guy that can catch and shoot, take it off the dribble, iso some in the post,” Ham said before Sunday’s game against the Indiana Pacers.

“He can do all of that. But it leaves one defense. When you face a team, it’s normally not gonna be all defenders in that starting lineup. You’re gonna have a couple guys that are high level defenders and they have to choose who they’re gonna focus on and you have two first ballot Hall of Famers, an All-Star in DLo and a high level player in AR, high level player in Rui. You can’t defend everybody even with high level defensive players. So he gets a lot from the attention that they draw and he’s been doing a good job of taking advantage of it.”

Besides the offensive end, Ham noted how Hachimura has affected their defense and how teams attack them. “It’s something we’ve worked at, just the communication factor, being in the right place early. Definitely the defensive rebounding. When you start an offensive group like that full of firepower, there’s some things that are give and take.

“We’re seeing damn near every team in the league now plays extremely fast so it’s something that we balance and we’ve got different coverages and different schemes that we can do to try to deflect that. But at the end of the day, the fruits of the labor that they’re providing is at a level where it makes all the sense in the world to keep that group the way it is.”

Hachimura also believes the new starting lineup has worked and believes his improved play is because the group is more comfortable playing together.

Hopefully Hachimura remains this effective as the Lakers will need him down the stretch.

Darvin Ham seeing improvements with Lakers’ next-play mentality

Ham has been preaching all season about his team needing to be better about focusing on the next play. Recently, it feels like the message has finally begun to sink and Ham acknowledged he’s seen improvements in this area.

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