Darvin Ham Blasts Unnamed Lakers Starter in NSFW Reflection on Season

Ham isn't holding back as he tries to explain the Lakers' disappointing season.
Apr 22, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham in the first quarter
Apr 22, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham in the first quarter / Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
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The Los Angeles Lakers were bounced from the opening round of the 2024 NBA playoffs Monday night, and reflections on a disappointing season have already begun. After suffering a 4–1 gentleman's sweep against the Denver Nuggets, coach Darvin Ham appeared to criticize an unnamed starter.

In an article published Tuesday, ESPN's Dave McMenamin quoted Ham discussing the difficulties of of the 2023-24 season. He did not hold back discussing the shortcomings of an unnamed player on his roster.

"It's been extremely challenging. Everyone that's been in and out of the lineup," Ham said to McMenamin. "Being criticized for not having a consistent rotation when I don't have consistent healthy bodies. The thing that frustrates me, and I love this job, I love the pressure that comes with it, I've always been calm in the midst of chaos ... [But] common sense tends to go out the window when you talk about my job in particular."

Ham continued, "It's amazing how people just skip that core part of having a consistency with your lineup is all predicated on health and performance. If you're coaching a team and one of your starters is like 10 games in a row, just s---ting the bed, what are you going to do?"

It's not clear if Ham is talking about one of his players or throwing out a hypothetical, but it's pretty easy to assume it's the former. The question is which starter could he be referring to? There are really three options.

Ham benched Austin Reaves for a long stretch after the guard began the season slowly. While Reaves played in all 82 regular-season games, he only started 57 of them. Ham also sent Taurean Prince to the bench for a long stretch after he opened the season as a starter. The third option would be D'Angelo Russell, who had his characteristic up-and-down season with some tremendous highs and depressing lows.

Ham appears to be opening up like a guy who knows his time is limited. The Lakers don't have time to wait around for their coach to figure it out. LeBron James is nearing the end of his incredible career, Anthony Davis isn't getting any younger and the team spent money to put pieces in place around them last offseason.

The season was a roller coaster from the start. The Lakers finished 47–35, besting their record from Ham's first season in charge (43–39), and they won the inaugural NBA in-season tournament. But after reaching the Western Conference finals in 2023, they bowed out quickly in 2024. There doesn't seem to have been much improvement across the board. Whether that's on Ham or not is left for owner Jeanie Buss to decide.

It will be fascinating to see how things shake out in Los Angeles, but Ham isn't going down without having his say.

Ryan Phillips


Ryan Phillips is a Senior Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. Ryan has worked in digital media since 2009, spending eight years at The Big Lead before joining the SI team in 2024. He also co-hosts The Assembly Call Podcast about Indiana Hoosiers basketball and previously worked at Bleacher Report. Ryan is a proud San Diego native and a graduate of Indiana University’s journalism school.