Lakers News: L.A. Twitter Goes (Ahem) HAM On Darvin Ham


Do you see what we did there?

When your Los Angeles Lakers uncovered a stunning path towards snatching up a defeat from the jaws of victory last night in a 116-115 loss to the Indiana Pacers, NBA Twitter threw a variety of Lakers parties under the bus (or should we say Buss?).

One of the key Lakers to be singled out for criticism was first-year head coach Darvin Ham, whose head-scratching choices as the game got out of hand in the fourth quarter came under scrutiny.

With 9:59 left in the frame, the Lakers led the Pacers by 17 points. So naturally Ham made a change at point guard, and Indiana went on an instant 7-0 run.

This feels like mild Frank Vogel slander. He did win a title in his first year for L.A., and helped the team finish an injury-riddled follow-up season as one the league's strongest defenses. It's pretty clear now that what happened last year (when Los Angeles, fielding a bunch of washed-up role players, fell out of the playoff hunt and finished with a dismal 33-49 record) was clearly not Vogel's fault.

So why the hate? Phil Jackson is one of the all-time head coaching immortals, along with Red Auerbach, Gregg Popovich and Pat Riley. Vogel did a great job with a solid Lakers team, and was essentially scapegoated for the 2021-22 season. Vogel also coached several Pacers teams (led by Paul George, David West, Roy Hibbert and George Hill) deep into the postseason, including two Eastern Finals appearances in 2013 and 2014. He's pretty darn good!

Is Darvin Ham any better or worse than Vogel, who again is a good coach? This was a pretty bad game from an ATO perspective, but let's see how the season ends before jumping to conclusions.

Another L.A. fan noted that other critics (fans and reporters alike) have already blamed a variety of elements for the Lakers' bumpy 7-12 season start:

L.A. ownership came under fire a bit for its decision to hire Ham this summer.

Ham is not just the Lakers' first-year head coach. He is also a first-year NBA coach! Some fans were more forgiving of his gaffes than others:

Other fans felt... differently:

Ham was also called out when one fan noticed that Lakers star center Anthony Davis, who looks like he's by far the team's best and most efficient player, got fewer shot attempts than playmakers Russell Westbrook and LeBron James.

Davis does need to get more touches than Russell Westbrook, especially since Davis played nine more minutes than the bench guard.

This writer submits that, this game aside, Ham seems like a solid coach, who has been tinkering with the Lakers' lineups all season while trying to figure out how he can best maximize the team's existing talent.

And that, at the end of the day, is the trouble: the existing talent, assembled by Rob Pelinka over the summer, has been somewhat underwhelming this year.

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