At least three people involved in the NBA Finals believe Darvin Ham was the correct coaching choice for the Lakers, according to Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times.
Warriors associate head coach Mike Brown, who will take over as head coach of the Kings once the season concludes, has known Ham since 1996, when Ham was a rookie for the Nuggets and Brown was a first-year staffer, Woike writes. Brown later gave Ham his first NBA coaching job as an assistant on his staff with the Lakers in 2011.
“Everyone is like, ‘He’s a rookie head coach, going in there to work for the Lakers with all those veterans,’ but don’t get it twisted,” Brown said. “I would like to see who would be the first to challenge Darvin or roll his eyes because he will stand his ground. And he will make sure his point gets across and gets across within an authority a situation like that may need.”
Like Ham, Draymond Green is a native of Saginaw, Michigan, and he said Ham was an inspiration to him growing up, per Woike. Green also said Ham will bring much-needed toughness to Los Angeles.
“I think he’s going to bring a toughness, a blue-collar mentality just because that’s how he’s built. That’s how he’s raised. You have to be that way from Saginaw,” Green told The Times. “I think it’ll be a different toughness that they haven’t seen. And he’s going to command and require a different respect level that they haven’t really have had. … And I think that will bode well for that team.”
Celtics big man Al Horford also praised Ham, who was on the Hawks’ coaching staff when Horford played in Atlanta, as Woike relays.
“We really got after it,” Horford said of Ham. “He really challenged me to be better on the defensive end. Really challenged me to just be a better player in general. Darvin is about as good a guy as you’re going to see, a big competitor. Extreme competitor. The Lakers are really lucky to have a guy like him. He’s the kind of guy that you want.”
Here’s more on the Lakers:
- Ham’s greatest challenge as head coach will be figuring out the best way to utilize Russell Westbrook, writes Jovan Buha of The Athletic. With that in mind, Buha explores three ways the new coach can optimize Westbrook’s minutes, assuming he’s still on the roster in 2022/23. Buha also notes that Ham isn’t expected to address the media until early next week.
- L.A. is holding a workout with six draft prospects on Friday, tweets Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times. The six are Lucas Williamson (Loyola Chicago), Hyunjung Lee (Davidson), Paul Atkinson Jr. (Notre Dame), Scotty Pippen Jr. (Vanderbilt), Jamal Cain (Oakland), and Gaige Prim (Missouri State). According to ESPN’s big board, Pippen is the highest-rated among the group at No. 69, which makes sense, since the Lakers don’t currently hold any draft picks.
- In case you missed it, Ham was officially hired as head coach earlier today.