Against the Chicago Bulls on Monday, Darvin Ham relied on his most used starting lineup to start the game. That unit, consisting of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Taurean Prince, D’Angelo Russell and Cam Reddish, struggled to score against the Bulls and quickly fell behind en route to a third-straight loss.
Still, with the team struggling and finally looking healthy with 13 of 14 players available against the Bulls, maybe it’s time to start shaking up that starting unit.
Darvin Ham made it clear that option is a possibility but didn’t make any commitments one way or another.
“Obviously, this is not a rotation that’s set in stone,” Ham said. “Just trying to allow Gabe to get back out there, get his feet wet a little bit. We’ll continue to investigate ourselves, try to look at the film, look at different segments, what the numbers are saying and land on a good place where we have more consistency.”
Darvin Ham said he’s excited to see what a bench backcourt of Gabe Vincent and Austin Reaves looks like together. He thinks LA will have the flexibility to play bigger or smaller with their frontcourt. He called this a “discovery process” and the rotation a “Rubik’s cube.”— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) December 20, 2023
The last time the Lakers dropped three straight, Ham benched Reaves for Reddish and got the win. So, perhaps change for change's sake is valid.
Also, the Lakers have struggled to start games right and are a -3.7 in point differential in the first quarter, per NBA.com. It’s the only quarter where they are negative. You’ll never please everybody and if you keep listening to fans, you’ll soon join them in the crowd, but it’s clear either a change has to happen or improvement must come from within this unit for long-term success to happen.
Regardless, the starting lineup for any team is never set in stone. Factors such as performances, injuries, and trades will dictate change regarding your first five out. Thursday, for example, will feature a different starting lineup, with James being ruled out with a left ankle peroneal tendinopathy.
Fixing things on the fly won’t get any easier for Ham and company as they play the two best teams in the West next and then host the Boston Celtics on Christmas Day.
Ham has to figure out this ‘Rubik’s cube’ as he called it and make sure all the colors align, or else he might be the one the organization looks at, wondering why he can’t get the most out of players he has.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.