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Why Darvin Ham challenged Russell Westbrook in introductory press conference

Darvin Ham’s response when asked about Russell Westbrook showcased why the Lakers hired him for such a tough situation.

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Los Angeles Lakers Introduce Darvin Ham Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Over the last couple seasons, Frank Vogel was asked to deal with what seemed to be escalating amounts of bullshit. No, he didn’t always handle it as best he could, but it’s objectively true that the situation around him got significantly tougher over the course of his Lakers tenure.

How people deal with adversity defines them. Some might mope and complain about things beyond their control as they try to make whatever they have to work. Others might take a more direct approach and do whatever they can to optimize this scenario.

Not knocking Vogel per se, but he took a more passive approach and, as we saw, the results were not great. Darvin Ham does not suffer fools, and nothing showcased his approach to tricky situations more than his response when asked about how he’ll try to make it work with Russell Westbrook.

With Westbrook standing mere feet away, Ham challenged the future Hall of Famer to play defense in ways he did not last year. It obviously remains to be seen whether this approach will work but we do know Westbrook didn’t take to Vogel in any productive way. To discuss this and plenty more from Ham’s altogether impressive opening press conference, I welcomed our own Jacob Rude.

The situation is laid out pretty clearly in front of Ham. If Westbrook is still on the roster next year for whatever reason, then he’ll have to make it work. Will it be ideal? Obviously not, but how he handles that adversity also seems fairly clear; he knows what he’s expecting from Westbrook, LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and seems to understand how he’s going to get that from them.

You can listen to all that and more on our latest episode in the player embedded below, and to make sure you don’t miss a single one moving forward, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts.

And for a short-form recap pod, check out Lakers Lowdown, in which Anthony Irwin recaps the previous day’s news and gets you ready for the day ahead in LakerLand, every weekday morning on the Silver Screen & Roll Podcast feed.