The Los Angeles Lakers’ poor 2021-22 results largely came down to a lack of effort on the defensive end where the team recorded the biggest regress compared to previous seasons.
The Lakers’ defense ranked third in 2019-20, making for the pillar of their dominant performance on the way to the championship. The following campaign, L.A. owned the best defense in the NBA, but injuries eventually derailed the Purple and Gold’s bid to defend the title.
Last season, the Lakers ranked in the bottom 10 both offensively and defensively, giving up 115.1 points per game, the third-worst average in the league.
Wary of L.A.’s decline, Darvin Ham has been promising to improve the team’s defense since taking over as head coach. Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes reports Ham again emphasized the importance of high defensive tenacity to his system in a meeting with LeBron James — and warned he won’t hesitate to take players off the floor if they don’t embrace their new roles:
Ham agreed with James and reiterated that his main objectives are to hold everyone accountable and foster an atmosphere of selflessness, sources said. He voiced that defensive tenacity needs to be picked up all across the roster and also forewarned that players would have to play new roles and if he sensed reluctance, he wouldn’t hesitate to remove them from the game, sources said.
As he has made clear already, Competitiveness, togetherness, and accountability are the three words Ham wants to define his tenure as the Lakers head coach.
Ham’s vision seems to align as the James reportedly expressed his concerns over the Purple and Gold’s competitiveness and cohesion in the meeting.
Ham wants to run Lakers’ offense through Anthony Davis — and James appears to be on board
Among other changes Ham is planning to implement in L.A., he wants to run the Lakers’ offense through Anthony Davis — and James is believed to have been on board with the plan.
Ham’s been openly saying that the Purple and Gold will need Davis to step up if they want to return to fighting for the championship.
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