Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham has been at the helm of some drastic ups and downs throughout his first campaign in L.A. The team started 2-10, fought just to stay afloat amid a packed Western Conference, but held the No. 13 seed on the day of the trade deadline.
Since then, they’ve gone 17-9 to set themselves up as a potential playoff team. They will finish anywhere from No. 5-No. 8 in the conference, with their likeliest position being the No. 7 seed and the host of the first game of the Play-In Tournament.
Ham has taken the brunt of criticism throughout the season but has absolutely played a role in the turnaround of the team. For Ham, he doesn’t take too much joy in the way things have gone knowing there are still games to be played.
“Yeah, I guess so [laughs]. But nah, it’s ongoing. I’m definitely happy that we were able to fight through that adversity trying to find the right pieces that fit and we were able to march on through,” Ham said. “But our work is not done by a longshot so it’ll be great at some point to think back. But hopefully I’m thinking about this first year after we’re holding the trophy or something. That’s what I’m in it for.
“I didn’t come here to just make the playoffs or get from one round to the next. I’ve had a taste of the most positive drug you can use and that’s winning. I’ve done it twice and I want more of it. That’s why they hired me, because the city, the organization, we want more. And we’re gonna get to it.”
Ham knows the type of effort it’s going to take for the Lakers to win a championship this season, but he also has belief in the roster he’s working with.
“So climbing that tree or climbing that road, going down that path, we’re all for it. We got all of our intangibles that we need to make sure we do it in the proper fashion but I know me and my coaching staff signed up to win big,” Ham said. “It will take a step-by-step process, as I mentioned the other day, it’s wisdom and lessons, not just wins and losses. But in the short term, it’s a lot to be proud of, and in the long term, we got more work to do.”
The next step for the Lakers is to finish the regular season strong in Sunday’s finale. Then, if they do wind up with the No. 7 seed, they’ll fight for their lives in the Play-In Tournament and host the first game against what will likely be the New Orleans Pelicans or Minnesota Timberwolves.
If they win that, it’ll be a first-round series against Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies.
Nothing will be easy for L.A. the rest of the way, but they’ve done the work to get here and Ham has all the belief that they can continue their recent string of success.
Anthony Davis thanked new players for help in turnaround
The Lakers turnaround could not have been possible without the trade deadline acquisitions of D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt, Malik Beasley, Rui Hachimura and Mo Bamba. Anthony Davis recognized this and revealed that he thanked the new players for their help.
“Yeah, the way we started, 0-5, 1-5, 2-5 and 2-10, who would’ve thought we’d finish the season above .500,” Davis said. “We were joking with some of the other guys. We were pointing to some guys saying ‘we thank y’all’ because we were going that way to start the season. We just kept pushing and kept grinding, and obviously those guys were able to come in here and help us get some wins and ultimately finish above .500.”
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