3 Reasons The Lakers Made The Right Decision By Hiring Darvin Ham

In your Friday night news dump, the Los Angeles Lakers have hired Darvin Ham to be the franchise’s next head coach.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Ham signed a four-year contract with the Lakers, for whom he worked as an assistant from 2011 to 2013.

The decision is both unsurprising and smart. Ham was one of three finalists for the job, and the momentum was trending in his direction (Ham apparently parted ways in the last round of interviews).

Ham will become the 28th head coach in Lakers history and the sixth since 2011.

Here are three reasons why the 48-year-old seems like the perfect man to oversee the twilight of the LeBron James era and beyond.

1) It’s not Doc Rivers

Rivers was not necessarily the bad guy for the job, but he hasn’t really gotten out of the park in recent years, especially in the playoffs. The Lakers were interested in Rivers, but a younger, fresher spirit is a more inspired choice than a retread coaching his third team in four years.

More seriously, the Lakers were smart just to make a call. They proceeded deliberately for a month as they monitored the situation in Philadelphia. Now that a coach is in place, they can focus on building staff, then the June 23 NBA draft and free agency.

2) He is a former player

In today’s NBA, players — especially stars — hold more clout than ever before. Naturally, hiring ex-pros to lead teams is all the rage.

“As well as Erik Spoelstra, the other three who are in the bottom four are ex-players,” Magic Johnson told The Athletic., speaking at the conference finals. “So I think that says a lot about these young ex-players who command respect straight away, who have done it before. I’m not saying it has to be a former player, but I’m saying we have to look at what is happening.”

Ham played from 1996 to 2005 and won a ring as a reserve for the Detroit Pistons. As a fellow forward, he embraced the more down-to-earth aspects of the game, a department where the Lakers sorely underperformed last season.

LeBron enthusiastically expressed his approval (as made magic). According to a source, Ham was LeBron’s favorite from the start.

This is also great news for Anthony Davis. Ham’s track record of developing big players, particularly on the defensive end – Giannis Antekounmpo, Brook Lopez, Al Horford, Paul Millsap – is impressive. In general, Ham is a guy who favors defense, which may or may not be a good thing depending on how they round out the roster.

Sure, he’s a first-time head coach tasked with leading a flawed squad laden with veterans, exerting immense pressure and a league or bust (yes, always) mindset. On the other hand, the success of Ime Udoka and Willie Green (not to mention Steve Kerr and Ty Lue) should allay those concerns (conversely, the last time the Lakers signed a rookie skipper was Luke Walton. . which did not go well). Plus, he can follow in the footsteps of Nick Nurse, Taylor Jenkins, Quin Snyder, and Chris Finch as guys who paid G-League dues before instantly becoming capable head coaches in the Association.

Ham would target assistants with head coaching experience, which would help provide stability, know-how and Xs and Os.

Ham is not raw, having spent 14 years as an assistant – including a title winner and multiple contenders. It descends from the Budenholzer/Popovich driveshaft. He was late and overqualified for a shot.

3) Gravity

During exit interviews, Rob Pelinka said the Lakers prioritize candidates with a dominant voice.

“We just felt at the highest level of the organization that it was time for a new voice,” Pelinka said. “In terms of what this team needs right now, we think with obviously superstars in our team, we want a strong voice that can inspire players to play at the highest level of competition every day. nights. And I think that’s going to be one of the resounding qualities that we’re looking for to hold everyone – from the best player on our team to the 15th man – to some degree of accountability. And that’s going to be one of the many characteristics that are eye-popping.

Ham owns this representative. While Vogel is an impressive defensive tactician, good businessman and dedicated worker, his strategy for dealing with internal tensions was… no. He largely stayed away from interpersonal conflict, preferring, in his words, to “honor your work”.

The Lakers seem to think the former Bucks assistant can offer the best of both worlds. By athletics:

“In his interview with the Lakers, Ham impressed with more than his ability to manage a potentially difficult locker room: he came across as the guy who can also fix the schematic issues that plagued the Lakers last season.”

As Woj noted in the tweet above, Ham has always earned the respect of the stars. Per Lakers beat writer Kyle Goon, he is “known for his charismatic presence in the locker room…He has a reputation for toughness and no-nonsense accountability, but also as a relationship builder.”

Goon added that Ham was a leading voice when the Bucks staged their wildcat strike in the bubble.

Notably, Ham worked closely with Kobe Bryant when he was a Lakers assistant — surely something Pelinka, Bryant’s former agent, remembers fondly.

The Lakers’ first major move of the critical summer looks like a home run.

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