Darvin Ham’s Gives Brutally Honest Admission on Defending Nuggets’ Nikola Jokić

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

A typical press conference for Los Angeles Lakers coach Darvin Ham turned into a bit of an embarrassing confessional when Ham was asked how he planned to defend Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokić.

Rather than beat around the bush or give a run-of-the-mill answer, Ham opted to go down the course of brutal honesty. 

“[Jokić’s] become extremely efficient, like when he’s manning their offense, he knows how to kill you in a variety of different ways,” Ham told reporters after the Lakers’ 114-103 Game 1 loss in the playoff series against the Nuggets. “Just gotta put constant pressure on him—and that doesn’t seem to bother him either. Taller than everybody. Wingspan, skillset. It’s like s---. I don’t know what to do.”

In Ham’s defense, Jokić has long stumped coaches around the league. The Nuggets big man, primed to win his third MVP award in the last four years, can seemingly do it all from his high-IQ passing plays to his effortless floaters and putbacks.

Jokić averaged a triple-double in last year’s Western Conference Finals sweep of the Lakers, and this year, he’s shown no signs of slowing down. Coming off an efficient series-opening performance, Jokić's dominant offensive presence simply demands more from the Lakers’ defense.

Ahead of Game 2’s tip-off on Monday night, Ham’s too-honest answer on how the Lakers intend to guard Jokić led to so many jokes and savage roasts by NBA fans.

Kristen Wong


Kristen Wong is a Staff Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. She has been a sports journalist since 2020. Before joining SI, Kristen covered four NFL teams as an associate editor with the FanSided NFL Network and worked as a staff writer for the brand’s flagship site. She has written about soccer, the NFL, NBA, and MLB since 2020, and outside of work, has dreams of running her own sporty dive bar.