The Lakers have reportedly hired Darvin Ham as the team’s next head coach, a move that came with nearly unanimous approval from the fanbase and prominent Lakers past and present as well like LeBron James and Magic Johnson. That support from within the franchise came as a result of his stellar interview and will reportedly lead to more freedom than his predecessor.
Let’s take a look at the latest rumors and headlines
Ham given autonomy with coaching staff
Part of the drama of the last coaching search included the team requiring that Jason Kidd be part of the staff. Even if the front office was ultimately vindicated given Kidd’s recent success, it was still bad process and played a role in the Lakers missing out on Ty Lue.
Having learned the lessons of their previous mistakes, the Lakers will reportedly be giving Ham full control over hiring his coaching staff, as reported by Dan Woike and Brad Turner of the LA Times.
According to sources with knowledge of the process, Ham will be given a large amount of autonomy, including the ability to choose his own coaching staff. He’s expected to meet with current Lakers staff members next week.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported on Friday night that the staff was expected to include head coaching experience. Ham’s staff will be important, particularly as a first-year head coach, and giving him the freedom to make hires as he wishes — you know, like a normal franchise — is another encouraging sign from a front office that hasn’t had many of them in the last year.
By basically every account reported, Ham was impressive in the interviews. In the opening interviews, he reportedly made the “strongest impression” of the candidates and in the final interview, he impressed so much that the team offered him the job without interviewing Kenny Atkinson.
At least one aspect that had a lasting impact on the Lakers front office was reportedly his tactical knowledge, according to Bill Oram of The Athletic (emphasis mine).
Those who know Ham say he has an unteachable presence about him. He can hold players accountable. And not just role players. Stars, too. He understands locker room dynamics with eight years in the NBA as a player. He won a ring as Mike Budenholzer’s favorite assistant in Milwaukee.
In other words, he’s got juice.
And sources said he blew the Lakers away with his understanding of X’s and O’s.
For a number of reasons, this is a pretty funny leak, but most of which is the likely not accidental shot at former head coach Frank Vogel. Never known as an offensive mind, the Lakers leaking how good Ham is with X’s and O’s feels intentional.
On that topic, though, a very interesting fact is the common “Hammer” play that teams run is named after Ham himself.
The hammer play was named after Darvin Ham? pic.twitter.com/KPtATz22AD— tayö (@tayoshi2) May 28, 2022
It’d be safe to say the Lakers will use this play next season, but they’ll need to have shooters on the roster to do that first.
Holding people accountable
One of the main key things mentioned by both general manager Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson, who was advising the Lakers on their search, that they desired in the next head coach was a desire to hold everyone accountable.
It probably shouldn’t be surprising, then, that quality from Ham stuck out to the front office, according to Woike and Turner’s report.
Ham impressed the Lakers with his ability to communicate and hold people accountable, according to sources, a crucial element in their search to replace Vogel.
As much as it, again, feels like a shot at Vogel, if Ham is as great in the locker room as most reports have indicated he likely will be, then the Lakers may have really found an upgrade and a potentially great coach this offseason.