New Lakers Coach Darvin Ham: What Can We Expect?
Rob Pelinka Darvin Ham Lakers
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers have a new head coach – Darvin Ham. Ham was an assistant coach for the Lakers from 2011 to 2013 and has been coaching since 2002. He’s got a lot of experience, and he seems excited to be back with the team. In this article, we’ll take a look at what led to this change in the coaching staff, what Ham brings to the table, and what fans can expect from the Los Angeles Lakers under his leadership.

The Lakers are one of the most storied franchises in NBA history. They’ve won 16 championships, and their list of legendary players is a who’s who of basketball greatness. In recent years, though, the team has struggled. They missed the playoffs for six straight seasons – something that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.

One of the main reasons for the team’s struggles has been their head coaching situation. Since the firing of Mike Brown in 2013, the Lakers have had four different head coaches – including three interim head coaches. None of them were able to turn things around, and it became clear that a change was needed.

NBA Championship Odds

It’s not often that you see the Lakers in anything other than a good light. After all, they are one of the most successful franchises in NBA history. However, things didn’t go as planned for them during the 2021/22 season. They finished in 11th place in the Western Conference and ended up with 33 wins to 49 losses and fans were not happy about it. Especially those who had bet on them to win. If you’re someone who is interested in betting on basketball games, then you’ll want to pay close attention to the odds for the Lakers. With preseason contenders and trades still very much in play, odds can change quickly.

Currently, the Lakers are +1800 to win the Western Conference, tied with the Mavericks for 6th place. Basketball betting odds for winning the NBA Championship are +4500.

Change Needed

After the poor season, the need for change was quite obvious, and the choice fell on – a coach who many praises for his well-known no-nonsense approach and the hard work he is willing to put into training his teams – requiring the same in return. He is not only a well-respected coach but a sportsman as well. With big names on their team, the Lakers were in need of someone who can bring them together and control them, as well as motivate them. For the coach position, among Ham, were competing: Terry Stotts – previously a Blazers coach, and Kenny Atkinson – former Nets coach.

About Darvin Ham

Darvin Ham has had success at every level he has coached. He got his start as an assistant coach with the Detroit Pistons in 2001 and then became the head coach of the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA Development League in 2006. He then moved on to become an assistant coach for the Milwaukee Bucks from 2008-2010.

In October 2011, he became an assistant coach on Mike Brown’s staff with the Los Angeles Lakers, where he worked with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasolin primarily in a player development role.

In 2013, Ham was named the associate head coach of the Atlanta Hawks. Atlanta reached the playoffs in four consecutive seasons with Ham in this role and made the Eastern Conference finals in 2015.

In 2018, the Milwaukee Bucks hired former head Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer and Ham as his assistant. During the 2019–2020 season, the Bucks played to their best record since 1972 and Budenholzer won the NBA’s Coach of the Year award. In the 2020-21 season, Ham helped coach Milwaukee to its second NBA title in franchise history, their first championship since 1971.

Darvin Ham’s Playing Years

As a player, Ham was usually taking the power forward spot, and one of his best stats were as follows: 22.6 minutes per game, 5.1 points, and 4.9 boards serving while playing as a free agent for the Milwaukee Bucks team in the season of 1999-2000. Beforehand – in 1997 he played for the Washington Wizards, and in 2002 he switched to the Atlanta Hawks, ending up being a member of the 2004 NBA champion Detroit Pistons. Ham himself during the interview said that he was a blue-collar contributor, which focused him on details and paying very close attention to the game.

What will come next for the Lakers?

The Lakers’ attempt to bounce back may include free agency, trades, or drafts, but with limited assets, the choice may be quite narrow. We don’t know much so far – the media along with the fans believe that the Lakers could trade Westbrook – following his performance – in the off-season. And there is also LeBron James, whom the team relies on for assists, till the 2022-23 season.


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