The news broke on Friday that the Lakers had chosen Bucks assistant Darvin Ham as their new head coach. Ham was granted some power before he accepted the job on a four-year contract.
He’ll will be given a large amount of autonomy, including the ability to choose his own coaching staff, Dan Woike and Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times report. To that end, he’ll meet with current Lakers staff members next week.
Ham sold the Lakers’ brass with his ability to communicate and hold people accountable. They were so impressed by Ham that they passed over a planned interview with Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson and offered the Bucks assistant the job. Former Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts, the other finalist, was interviewed earlier in the week.
We have more on the Lakers’ coaching move:
- Although Ham has never been a head coach, Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer gave him wide-ranging responsibilities to prepare him for a head coaching position, Jim Alexander of the Orange County Register writes. The fact that he has worked with Kobe Bryant and Giannis Antetokounmpo during his coaching career should suit him well on a team with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
- Speaking of Milwaukee’s two-time Most Valuable Player, Antetokounmpo told ESPNs Adrian Wojnarowski that the Lakers made the right choice (Twitter link). “I’m so happy for him. He’s the right fit for them,” Giannis said of Ham. “He keeps it real with you. No BS at all. It’s about damn time. He deserves it more than anyone.”
- Hiring someone with no head coaching experience to take over the Lakers might seem a little nuts but it could work out perfectly, Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times opines. Plaschke notes that the Celtics reached the conference finals under first-year head coach Ime Udoka and the Pelicans are on the upswing with Willie Green. However, Ham will have a lot of difficult issues to fix, including the usage of Russell Westbrook.
- The Lakers hired the best available candidate, Jovan Buha of The Athletic writes. Ham is a defensive-minded tactician who helped develop the Bucks’ championship defensive scheme. Rather than hiring a retread, they decided to step outside of their comfort zone and give a top assistant a chance to run the show.