Before they made headlines by interviewing former head coaches like Mark Jackson and Terry Stotts this week, the Lakers were first linked to Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham and Toronto Raptors assistant coach Adrian Griffin, both of whom they requested permission to interview over the last several days.
Well, according to Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times, that permission was granted, as the two longtime assistants joined Stotts and Jackson in conducting interviews on Zoom this week:
Assistants Darvin Ham (Milwaukee) and Adrian Griffin (Toronto) have also spoken with the Lakers about the job.
We have not done a scouting report on Griffin yet, as his name only leaked this week, but here is what my colleague Mitchell Maurer — who covers the Bucks for our sister site Brewhoop — had to say about the positives Ham would bring to the table if the Lakers hired him:
Ham was a part of building Budenholzer’s vaunted ”blue boxes” offense, a custom-built system designed to maximize the talents of Giannis Antetokounmpo by spacing the floor and stretching the defense, opening up gaps on the arc and in the dunker’s spot. This system could only work with the specific individuals comprising Milwaukee’s roster; it required flexibility and understanding on the part of the coaching staff in order to place everyone in a position to succeed.
More than his basketball acumen, Ham knows how to manage people and build relationships. He has walked the walk and talked the talk, and every stop of his NBA career comes with high praise for his character, charisma, and credibility.
Ham has established himself as a trusted leader in the Bucks locker room, having earned and maintained the respect of stars and role players alike. He has been a crucial part of the development of players like Brook Lopez and Bobby Portis, and was also instrumental in the Bucks landing DeMarcus Cousins earlier this season when the team desperately needed some depth. There’s not a lot Ham can’t do as a coach, and he should be a target of any franchise looking to give him his first shot at the lead chair.
We’ll see if the Lakers actually are willing to hire either assistant over someone who has been a head coach before for this veteran team, but at the very least, the team is casting a wide net as they begin the interview process.