The Los Angeles Lakers will play a different type of basketball under head coach Darvin Ham, hoping to move away from everything that didn’t work during the dreadful 2021-22 season.
Although Ham, like Frank Vogel, is a defensive-minded coach, the Lakers will likely change their style of play quite significantly — and on both ends of the floor.
On defense, Ham will demand from L.A. way more effort than the Purple and Gold showed last year. And on offense, the 49-year-old wants to make Anthony Davis the focal point — with the blessing of LeBron James.
But Ham is yet to figure out the supporting cast behind Davis and James. The head coach said he’s been using many different lineups early in training camp to find the most effective configurations.
“I’m just looking at everything,” Ham said after Wednesday’s session. “I see what fits with a small lineup, with Bron at the 4, AD at the 5, the traditional lineup.
“We haven’t paired Russ and Pat Bev together just yet, but we’ve been throwing out all types of lineups together out there. K-Nunn has been with some. Damian Jones and Wenyen Gabriel, Thomas Bryant — we’ve been rotating people all over the place just to see.”
Ham said he eventually wants to have two to three trusted units that he can rely on during games.
“Probably have to go to about three or four different lineups during the course of the game but have really two to three solid ones,” he said.
“But it just comes down to mixing and matching players. They’ve adjusted to it well and kept it rolling, and made the best of it. It’s been a good camp thus far.”
Thomas Bryant & Daniel Jones think they can complement each other
Under Ham, the Lakers are likely to utilize Davis at the 5 far less frequently than with Vogel in charge last year. Thomas Bryant and Damian Jones are expected to fight for a spot in the starting lineup after joining the team in the summer.
But the two big men aren’t anticipating a cut-throat fight for rotation minutes. Rather, Bryant and Jones think they can complement each other. “He’s a very athletic, big man who can really attack the rim, protect the rim as well,” the 25-year-old Bryant said of Jones.
“And, and I feel like myself is a great inside score but also the three-point shooting that I can bring to the table as well really helps.”
Jones added: “I feel like we can definitely complement each other. But whatever happens, whatever the coach decides, works.”
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