There’s already some buzz less than a week into the Los Angeles Lakers’ reported hiring of Darvin Ham.
Known as a no-nonsense coach who commands respect, Ham has left his mark as an assistant in the NBA for 11 seasons. He has had a strong impact on a plethora of players in the league such as Al Horford and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
None, however, have been quite as influential as the impact on Saginaw, Mich. native and Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green. Ham is from Saginaw and played at Saginaw High School like Green, inheriting the underdog mentality common in Saginaw natives.
In an interview with Dan Woike of the L.A. Times, Green highlighted what the Lakers should expect from Ham:
“I think he’s going to bring a toughness, a blue-collar mentality just because that’s how he’s built. That’s how he’s raised. You have to be that way from Saginaw,” Green told The Times. “I think it’ll be a different toughness that they haven’t seen. And he’s going to command and require a different respect level that they haven’t really have had. … And I think that will bode well for that team.”
The Saginaw connection is far from the only similarity the two have. What captivated Green is how Ham went from the back of the bench in high school to an NBA champion. Ham’s journey as an NBA player is eerily similar to Draymond’s.
Ham played four years in college, was undervalued in the NBA Draft being undrafted, worked his way into the league and eventually became a champion with the Detroit Pistons in 2004.
Ham was also always a proud Saginaw native, coming back home to run youth basketball camps. Green attended those camps in awe of the 12-year NBA veteran. He went as far as to call him a hero and someone who gave him hope:
“Growing up, could see that — ‘that’s Darv, in the NBA’ — and you want that,” Green said. “That’s your dream, too. And to see him come back and be able to touch him, to go to his camps. It was like, ‘Yo, I could possibly do that one day.’”
One can dream the connection between the two would entice Green to sign with the Lakers when he’s a free agent in 2024. But for now, he is focused on winning another championship.
Ham expected to be able to select his own coaching staff
One of the big changes from the Lakers’ last coaching search is they are expected to give Ham the autonomy to select his own coaching staff.
It remains to be seen who will be joining him on the bench in L.A., but considering he is a first-time head coach, it seems fair to assume there will be at least one coach with past head coaching experience on his staff.
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