Speaking to the media on Monday for the first time since being named the Lakers‘ head coach, Darvin Ham didn’t undersell Anthony Davis‘ importance to the franchise moving forward, as Jovan Buha of The Athletic relays.
“I think he’s the key,” Ham said of Davis. “We’ve all seen what can happen when he’s healthy and playing at a high level and in rhythm. We saw it in the bubble. His skill set, his size, his versatility, his defensive acumen, his relentlessness, his ability to give multiple efforts defensively is key. It’s going to be the foundation of the type of standard we set in the ‘Darvin Ham era.’ It’s going to be built on that defense and he’s going to be the main piece, the centerpiece of it.
“LeBron (James) is always going to be great; LeBron is going to be LeBron. Russ (Westbrook) is going to be Russ. But we need consistency out of Anthony Davis. We need him to be healthy, we need him to be in a good mental space. And we need him to be as consistent as possible, like we’re playing that championship-type level of basketball. And we’re going to do everything in our power to support him.”
Davis has been limited to just 76 games across the last two seasons due to injuries, but has played at his usual All-Star level when healthy, averaging 22.5 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 3.1 APG, and 2.0 BPG in those 76 appearances.
Here’s more on the Lakers:
- Addressing the rumor that his former Pistons teammate Rasheed Wallace will join the Lakers’ staff as an assistant, Ham referred to is a “fluid” situation, according to Buha. “He’s definitely a candidate that we’ll take a look at, but we’re working through that,” Ham said, confirming that no formal agreement is in place yet.
- In a column for The Los Angeles Times, Dylan Hernandez argues that the Lakers’ leaders – including Ham and VP of basketball operations Rob Pelinka – are lowering expectations for the offseason moves they can make and shifting the responsibility for next season’s success from the front office to the players.
- Pelinka has interest in buying a second-round pick in this month’s draft, he told Mike Bresnahan during a Spectrum SportsNet interview (Twitter link via Marc Stein). The Lakers still have about $4.44MM available to send out in trades before the 2022/23 league year begins, as our cash tracker shows.
- Although Ham said all the right things about Russell Westbrook during his introductory press conference on Monday, it remains to be seen whether he’ll have more luck than Frank Vogel did getting the former MVP to fully buy in to his message, Bill Oram writes for The Athletic.
- In case you missed it, at least three Lakers assistant coaches – including David Fizdale – won’t be retained for 2022/23, but Phil Handy will be back. Here’s our full story.