Los Angeles Lakers Go With Fresh Eyes, Hire Inexperienced Former Player Darvin Ham As New Coach

(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Lakers are hiring Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham as their new head coach, multiple sources announced late Friday.

Ownership hopes Ham, also a former Lakers assistant coach from 2011 to 2013 can take control of the team and hopefully restore the Purple & Gold back to glory that has eluded them since winning the Disney bubble championship in 2020.  

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This will be the Lakers’ third head coach in four years after they fired Frank Vogel at the end of this past season, which saw the Lakers miss the play-in tournament and the playoffs altogether.

The Lakers reportedly are signing Ham to a four-year deal, and the expectation is that he will be able to navigate the Lakers back to championship contention, as they feel they have a win-now roster built around Lebron James and Anthony Davis.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski, though he has no head coaching experience, the Lakers were very impressed with Ham and his different accomplishments and experiences throughout his coaching journey.

“Ham made a strong impression on Lakers in several areas, including his championship pedigree, his commanding presence, history of coaching stars and toughness. Ham will start assembling a staff expected to include head coaching experience.” Via Woj on Twitter.

The Lakers are in need of Ham’s aforementioned characteristics and experience because they are coming off of an abysmal season. He’s also a breath of fresh air in the coaching ranks. Something needed in L.A., where the locker room and fan interaction had gotten a bit stuffy.

The Lakers went 33-49 in their latest season and have dealt with a lot of roster issues, such as having the league’s oldest average age entering the season, tons of health issues with key players, and one of the most notable issues dealing with a declining Russell Westbrook and his exorbitant contract.

Ham is coming into an unfavorable position and clearly has his work cut out for him. 

Ham has a well-rounded championship résumé as he was a former NBA player himself. Ham was a journeyman who played for six different teams but ultimately ended up winning a championship as a part of that 2004 Detroit Pistons team.

In the NBA Ham averaged 2.7 points and 2.3 rebounds a game. Drafted by the Denver Nuggets, he eventually played for teams such as the Pacers, Wizards, Bucks, Hawks, and Pistons.

Ham later went into coaching and would become an assistant coach with the Lakers before joining the staff of the Milwaukee Bucks, helping them capture a championship last year.

The reaction to Ham’s hiring was very positive around the league.

 

This will be the 48-year-old’s first head coaching gig and it was well deserved in the eyes of many. Ham is from Saginaw, Michigan, and grew up there, before going to play basketball at Texas Tech University.

Coaching the likes of Lebron and AD, who have championship experience, will help take the pressure off of Ham as a rookie head coach.

Not only will he have a strong veteran presence on the team, but, according to Woj, the Lakers are planning to hire a coaching staff that has a lot of head coaching experience, seemingly buffing Ham up with all the experience and coaching assistance that a first-year coach could ask for. 

This coach signing is LeBron-approved as he also took to social media to welcome the new coach. A good sign for the Lakers as they are ready to move on from their horrendous 2021-2022 season last year and head toward a brighter future with Ham.