Darvin Ham was Scrutinize for 5 Mix-ups…..

Darvin Ham was Scrutinize for 5 Mix-ups.....

Lakers Fans Criticize Darvin Ham For 5 Mistakes He Made This Season

A Lakers fan pointed out five key mistakes made by Darvin Ham over the season and how they cost the Lakers.

The Los Angeles Lakers are on the precipice of going another season without making a playoff appearance, currently sitting as the No. 10 seed in the West despite being 45-35. The Western Conference has been cutthroat this season, with every result having a significant impact on standings. The Lakers have suffered many losses this season which fans would blame on head coach Darvin Ham.

Scorned Laker fans have been attacking Ham all season long, with multiple rumors of Ham’s job security floating about. While he may have escaped being fired over the winter when the Lakers were at their worst, if the Lakers fail to make any noise in the playoff or even qualify for it, Ham’s mistakes will come back to haunt him.

So are these mistakes as bad as they look, or are they just a talking point for fans to agitate for a new head coach? Let’s dive into the same.

1. Benched Austin Reaves 2 Weeks Into The Season For 25 Games  

The Los Angeles Lakers relied upon Austin Reaves to be their third star during their late-season run last year, riding his hot hand all the way to the Western Conference Finals. However, Darvin Ham relegated Reaves to a bench role for 25 games, where the Lakers went 14-11.

The team started 3-5 with Reaves as a starter, but Ham him harshly for that slow start. He has a 31-24 record as a starter, which showcases his value. His 14-11 record off the bench is a 56.0% record, with the Lakers currently at 56.3%, showing that the decision to bench Reaves wasn’t good or efficient.

Reaves is averaging 15.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 5.6 assists this season, performing a crucial role for the Lakers. While Darvin Ham may have thought it was theoretically sound to not start Reaves and Russell together, favoring defenders like Cam Reddish or Taurean Prince as starters instead. However, the lack of fluidity in lineups kept hurting them until Reaves returned to the starting lineup in December because someone else was benched.

2. Benched D’Angelo Russell In December

The reason Reaves returned to the starting lineup was because Darvin Ham elected to bench Russell after rotten performances throughout December. This was when trade speculation around Russell had peaked, with him averaging 10.4 points and 5.5 assists on 40.4% shooting in 13 games over December. The move made sense at the time, but the Lakers didn’t get much better, going 4-3 in the time Russell spent on the bench. Re-integrating him as a starter within a more fluid offense completely changed his impact on the team.

Since January, D’Lo has outright been the third-best player on the Lakers. He has a 40-27 record as a starter this season, proving that the Lakers function much better when he’s on the court alongside LeBron and Anthony Davis for extended stretches instead of marshaling bench lineups.

3. Started Taurean Prince 49 Times 

Taurean Prince has been a decent rotational player for the Lakers and often finds himself facing the brunt of fan hate for spending most of the season in a role he didn’t belong in. Prince has started 49 games for the Lakers this season, with the team going under .500 with a 24-25 record. He’s averaged 8.9 points and 3.0 rebounds, with the only reasonable explanation behind his extended time on the court being his 3-point accuracy, converting at a 39.3% rate this season.

Prince’s defense has been solid, but he’s a 3-and-D role player and not a starter on a contender. Ham’s refusal to play Rui Hachimura over Prince for large chunks of the season is arguably one of the most damning signs of Ham’s failure as a coach this season. It’s no coincidence that the Lakers have gone 21-6 in the 27 games he’s come off the bench this season.

4. Started Cam Reddish 26 Times

The Lakers made a huge swing-signing in the summer when they picked up Cam Reddish in free agency to hopefully give him the opportunity that he never got with the Hawks and Knicks. Darvin Ham did give Reddish ample opportunities, starting him for 26 games this season where the team went 14-12. A lot of these starts came when Ham was flip-flopping his backcourt and randomly pairing either Reaves or Russell with Reddish in the starting five.

Reddish’s flaws were on full display during a 3-10 stretch in December where the Lakers ran lineups featuring LeBron as the point guard, with Reddish, Prince, Vanderbilt, and Davis around him. Reddish’s theoretical abilities could have made this lineup potent in many ways, but he just could not be the primary guard scoring option, and it was ludicrous for Ham to expect him to excel in that role.

5. Didn’t Start Rui Hachimura Until February

The most incredible rotational flaw Ham made this season, which could be the one that’s entirely responsible for the Lakers being the 10 seed instead of the 6 seed is his refusal to start Rui Hachimura until February of this year. Even that was a change that Ham didn’t make willingly, filling in the gaps on the frontline after Jarred Vanderbilt got injured.

The Lakers have a losing 14-15 record with Hachimura coming off the bench, with a majority of these losses coming before February. Since entering the starting lineup, the Lakers have 24-13 with Hachimura. His production has also gone up as a result, averaging 16.1 points and 5.1 rebounds since February 1.

Rui showed flashes of excellence last season and was crucial in orchestrating the Lakers’ first-round win over the Grizzlies. He started the season injured, which slowed his integration into the roster, but his benching went on for far too long. There were rumors of favoritism for other players, which restricted Hachimura’s role, but the team looked like a contender since Rui had a greater opportunity.

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