Rob Pelinka Believes Darvin Ham Will Bring Toughness To Lakers
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Lakers went through a long and thorough process to ultimately land on Darvin Ham as the team’s new head coach.

Though it is Ham’s first head coaching opportunity, he has spent a lot of time as an assistant, even winning a championship in 2021. All of this after a playing career in which he carved out a role for himself as a tough, defensive-minded player who backed down from no one.

It is those characteristics as a player that the Lakers believe will continue to define Ham as a coach. General manager Rob Pelinka recently spoke on the idea of teams taking on the personality of their coach and what he believes Ham will bring to the Lakers.

“I think all of us can agree that teams, whether it’s in any sport, take on the identity of the head coach,” Pelinka said during Ham’s introductory press conference. “The things that stood out to Darvin in the interview process was the two words he’s been using. One is sacrifice, he was a player in the league that made every sacrifice to be great. He wasn’t a superstar, he knew what it took to fill in the gaps, to do the little things that it takes teams to be great, like the championship team he was on.”

“And then toughness. I think one of the things we lacked as a team last year was an identity of toughness and I think we’re excited to see how Coach with his leadership style will bring those attributes to our team next year. And as he said, there’s gonna be expectations, especially on the defensive end that those words carry forward. Words like toughness and sacrifice and accountability and that’s what Coach Ham’s leadership stands for and represents.”

Toughness, sacrifice and accountability were the themes of Ham’s press conference and it came across very well. Ham plans to hold everyone on the roster accountable and needs the team to buy in and sacrifice in order to be successful. That is what championship teams do and the Lakers want to find themselves back amongst the top teams in the NBA.

There will be a lot of eyes on Ham to see how he handles his first head coach position and the pressure will be there immediately. But if he can get the Lakers to take on that identity that he and Pelinka spoke about, it will go a long way towards the Lakers getting back towards championship contention.

Lakers coach Darvin Ham explains why he doesn’t feel pressure

The pressure to succeed with the Los Angeles Lakers is unlike that of any other franchise in the NBA, and maybe in all of sports. It is championship or bust with this franchise, but new coach Darvin Ham is unfazed by it and spoke about why he feels no pressure.

“I grew up in Saginaw, Michigan. I was shot in the face by accident, April 5, 1988. You go through something like that, it’s going to do one of two things: It’s going to make you fearful or fearless,” Ham said during his introductory press conference. “It made me fearless. I don’t feel no pressure. It’s basketball.

“We’ll talk about some of our military representatives across the sea fighting for our democracy, that’s pressure. This here is a challenge, and it’s something that can be navigated.”

With a story like that, it is no secret why Ham has forged the path he has so far in his career and seen the success he has. Hopefully that continues on in this latest endeavor.

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