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Darvin Ham’s first press conference as Lakers coach

After failing to qualify for the play-in tournament, the Lakers look to new head coach Darvin Ham for a revival, who laid out his plans for next season.

Jennifer Bubel

The new Los Angeles Lakers coach, Darvin Ham, spoke at his first press conference, where he laid out some of his plans for the team going into next season. The Lakers are in need of some major changes after failing to make it to the play-in tournament in the 2021-22 season. Among their issues is their defense, which fell to 21st this season, whereas before they were one of the top-ranked in the league.

Ham touched on the issue, saying that it will be his biggest point of concern. “The offense won’t even matter if we don’t get stops,” said Ham. He talked about accountability, saying that it has to be a team effort and every player is responsible. “We have a saying, ‘facts over feelings.’ Once you see the film and it’s a fact that you missed your assignment, then that has to be pointed out,” he said. “If I can’t point that out to one of our Big 3, then the last man or someone in our rotation won’t take what we’re doing seriously. It has to be consistent across the board.”

Another big question mark for the Lakers is Russell Westbrook and how he fits into the team dynamic. After all the buzz of getting Westbrook to the team, he fell flat, never really finding his place. But Ham was clear that he supports keeping Westbrook on the team, calling him “one of the best players our league has ever seen”. As for his role on the team, Ham was not specific about whether he would be coming off the bench. He did say that sacrifices would have to be made. “There’s no achieving anything without all parties sharing the load, sacrificing and depending on one another,” said Ham.

Ham touched on the status of Anthony Davis as well. Davis’ health has been a concern for some time now - he played in just 40 games this season and 36 in the 2020 season. Ham pointed out that when Davis is healthy, his impact on the team is great. “His skillset, size, versatility, defensive acumen, his relentlessness,” he said. “His ability to give multiple efforts defensively is key. It’s going to be the foundation of the type of standard we set within the ‘Darvin Ham era.’” Ham hinted that he would utilize Davis at center, rather than his previous primary role of power forward, which would make sense considering Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan are not the players they used to be at starting center.

“It starts on the defensive end, and from there we’re gonna build back toward the offense,” Ham said. “I think the type of spacing, a four-out, one-in style, which I’m gonna implement, is gonna help all parties.”