The Los Angeles Lakers this week introduced Darvin Ham as their new coach, following general manager Rob Pelinka praising him for his character, approach and knowledge acquired from coaching three seasons in what is now the NBA G League and 11 in the NBA.
“When someone begins his NBA coaching career at the G League level and goes all the way through playing an integral role on the front bench of an NBA championship team, it really speaks to a certain strength of character,” Pelinka said in a statement on June 3 announcing that Ham had signed a multi-year contract to replace the fired Frank Vogel.
“Our players and fans will immediately identify with Darvin’s no-nonsense and hard-working approach, which we feel will bring toughness and a competitive edge to all we do. When you add that to Darvin’s sophisticated grasp of in-game strategy and deep knowledge of the game of basketball, we have the ideal coach for this next chapter in Lakers history.”
Ham said he will work to put the Lakers “back on top of the food chain.”
“I think the sky’s the limit,” Ham said. “We’re not putting a ceiling on our situation. We’ll go as far as our daily preparation takes us. We’re going to get better every day, that’s what we’re going to do. And the thing we’re going to do in that daily process will lead to the type of success this franchise and this city is accustomed to.:”
Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, who like Ham was raised in Saginaw, Mich., echoed Pelinka’s prediction that Ham would “a toughness” to the Lakers.
“I think he’s going to bring a toughness, a blue-collar mentality just because that’s how he’s built,” Green told the Los Angeles Times. “That’s how he’s raised. You have to be that way from Saginaw.
“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.”
Ham’s hiring also drew praise from Laker star LeBron James, who tweeted “So damn EXCITED!!!!!!! Congrats and welcome Coach DHam!!” shortly after Ham’s hiring was reported May 27.
Terms of the contract and its length were not disclosed. ESPN, which was first to report the hiring May 27, reported the contract was for four years.
Ham takes over a team that was 33-49 in the 2021-22 season, missing the playoffs two seasons after winning the NBA championship. James missed 24 games due to injuries while fellow all-star Anthony Davis missed 41 to injuries and one because of flu-like symptoms.