The Los Angeles Lakers are hoping for a strong 2022-23 performance after two miserable seasons, putting extra pressure on rookie head coach Darvin Ham.
In 2021-22, L.A. failed to reach the playoffs for the second time in LeBron James’ four years with the team. The failure came after a season-long struggle with injuries that further exposed the Lakers roster’s shortcomings. A 33-49 finish — which didn’t even earn the Purple and Gold a spot in the Play-In Tournament — ultimately cost head coach Frank Vogel his job, leading to Ham’s takeover.
The 49-year-old is facing a huge challenge in his first head-coaching job as the Lakers expect to improve significantly following last season’s disappointment. But, perhaps to take some of the pressure off Ham as the new season looms, governor Jeanie Buss told GQ’s Tyler R. Tynes the head coach would be given the necessary “time and resources” to succeed:
Tyler R. Tynes: In some ways, there’s a parallel from then to now. Bad season last year. Some bad seasons in the last decade. What opportunity are you trying to create for the Lakers right now? Is it Darvin Ham? Is it a roster reconstruction?
Jeanie Buss: We changed coaches, so that’s a new voice. And we are continuing to, hopefully, stay injury-free. We want to see Anthony Davis stay on the floor and be healthy the whole season. And when you have Anthony and LeBron, there’s a lot of great things that can happen. But you have to have a supporting cast of players that can fill roles and also stay injury free. We have Kendrick Nunn coming back after missing last season, and a lot of young players that…I can name names, but until we see how they play there really isn’t…we have to give Darvin Ham all of the time and resources he needs to put the team together to see how they move forward.
Buss’ comments align with reports that the Lakers are still working on roster improvements. On Thursday, the Purple and Gold acquired Patrick Beverley in exchange for Talen Horton-Tucker and Stanley Johnson.
More personnel moves might be on the way, particularly as rumors claim the Lakers are still trying to trade Russell Westbrook.
Lakers uninterested in Julius Randle reunion
The Lakers reportedly have multiple options to part ways with Westbrook, even after their pursuit of Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving appears to have ended. However, L.A. is said not to be uninterested in bringing back Julius Randle from the New York Knicks.
Randle left the Purple and Gold in 2018 after four seasons with the team.