One of the first to congratulate Los Angeles Lakers Head Coach Darvin Ham was Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo. The two-time MVP worked with Ham for four seasons, creating a strong bond.
Antetokounmpo’s game skyrocketed once Ham came on staff, leading to a championship in 2021. The same could happen for Anthony Davis, who is coming off an underwhelming season. Ham called Davis the key to the Lakers’ success because of his two-way talent.
Davis and Antetokounmpo have similar impacts on the floor, especially on the defensive side. Davis became the defensive anchor during the Lakers’ 2020 NBA title run. Giannis is one of the best weak-side defenders in the league.
Ham’s experience working with Giannis makes his transition to Davis smoother.
“I think it’s more system-based. And yes, we were able to build a proven commodity in the way we played offense, the way we defended, during Bud and I used my time together,” Ham said. “But in terms of AD and Giannis [Antetokounmpo] the comparisons they’re slightly different players, but they’re both dynamic in the sense that they are multifaceted to be the at the size that they’re at. And a lot of ground gets made up in the breakdowns, the defensive breakdowns, and the offensive breakdowns.”
The two stars have alike qualities. Both players are long and athletic with enough foot speed to stay in front of a guard and enough strength to protect the paint.
On the offensive side, Davis has a more polished shot, while Giannis is more comfortable attacking the back. But, using the two in a system is quite similar.
“Those guys can, you can throw it to them, and they will get you a bucket. But how easy will that bucket be like we have to get the ball going side to side, we have a term play with the pass, like share the ball, make it easy on yourself, instead of going one-on-four, one-on-five, you got to play with your teammate,” Ham said. “And now it’s a three-on-two situation or two-on-one situation because you just moved the ball you then sit hold it dribble 18 times like it has to be a rhythm, ball and body movement.
“But the Giannis is unique because we had different people that took the lead on him and his individual workouts, but the things we would do in terms of our offensive breakdowns and our defensive breakdowns will actually give him more. So when it came time for him to play one-on-one it was easy, you know, I mean, you had to account for other people. So now there’s different driving lanes or there’s more space.
“And again, it goes back to the type of rosters we were able to build and put the type of players around him. That’s we’re gonna do here when Rob and I collaborate, we’re gonna dive in and put the best roster out there that we possibly can to support our big three.”
Anthony Davis excited about Ham hiring
The brow is all in for the hiring of Ham as the Lakers’ head coach. When Davis is healthy, he’s one of the best players in the league and Ham will be tasked with tapping into Davis’ potential.
On a recent Twitch stream, AD couldn’t hold in his excitement: “I’m excited about Darvin, about Coach Ham,” Davis said. “I’m excited about Coach Ham, I think he’s going to help us out. What he brings, his mindset, we’re going to see.”