Lakers News: Darvin Ham Puts Onus On Coaching Staff To Get Anthony Davis Ball In Better Positions
Anthony Davis Darvin Ham Lakers
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

With their win in the Play-In Game on Tuesday night, the Los Angeles Lakers secured the seventh seed in the Western Conference and a matchup with the second-seed Memphis Grizzlies. As has been the case all year for Darvin Ham’s team, the key to success will likely be the performance of star big man Anthony Davis.

Davis has been absolutely unstoppable in his two games against the Grizzlies, averaging 29 points, 20.5 rebounds and 3.5 blocks. And with the Grizzlies down two of their best bigs in Steven Adams and Brandon Clarke, the opportunity is there for Davis to continue that domination.

Recently, however, teams have sold out to double Davis and limit his impact scoring-wise and Ham knows that he and his coaching staff have to do a better job of getting the ball to Davis in different spots. “Yeah, we got to be able to move him around and that falls on my staff and I, because they’re coming,” Ham said about the double teams. “Any isolation, he’s gonna get double-teamed. So trying to get him in more pick-and-rolls, more side action, moving him to different areas on the floor, not so much on the side, maybe more in the middle.

“There’s a plethora of things that we can do that we have in our treasure chest that we can try to allow the game to be a little easier and force the defense into some compromising positions. So we just got to go back and look at the film because they double-teamed from every angle. Baseline, from the dribble, on the top, on the catch, when the pass is in the air. So we just got to do our due diligence to look at everything and see how we can best serve our player.”

The great thing about Davis is that he can operate from basically anywhere on the court. The post on either side, the elbow and midrange, back-to-the-basket or facing up Davis is capable doing damage at all three levels. Not to mention the Lakers have multiple playmakers in LeBron James, D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves and Dennis Schroder who can get Davis the ball as well.

In terms of the Grizzlies specifically, Davis doesn’t recall them doing as much double-teaming as other squads. “It’s a lot of pick-and-rolls. I think in our matchups with Memphis though they didn’t double,” Davis noted. “Usually, Steven Adams, he guards me, and then Xavier Tillman, he kind of guarded me straight up. so I’m not sure what their plan is. Not seeing so many double teams against Memphis.”

Regardless of how he is being defended, the movement and shot-making of his Lakers teammates will be key to opening things up for Davis.

“But we’re doing a good job making shots to kind of open it up. Go into some wide action where you can’t double, come off a pin-down or play some pick-and-roll. You know where we got guys cutting and moving. Now guys are moving and catching on … or catching at the top of the floor and just operating. … So I’m just trying to find ways to be a part of the game and be productive and whatever I gotta do to help the team win.”

What Davis needs to do to help the Lakers win is dominate. If he is the best player in this series, the Lakers have a real chance of pulling off the upset over Memphis.

Darvin Ham expresses confidence in D’Angelo Russell after rough Play-In Game

Another key for the Lakers in this first-round series will be D’Angelo Russell. The point guard had a rough night in the Play-In Tournament game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, hitting just 1-of-9 shots for two points, though he did add eight assists. But despite that, head coach Darvin Ham is not down on Russell at all.

“You know, you’re gonna have rough nights out here. I have all of the confidence in the world in DLo,” Ham said. “We’re gonna need him during this run that we plan to make starting with Game 1 at Memphis. He’s just got to be able to snap back and bounce back. It’s a long season. Some nights it’s not gonna be your night.

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