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Lakers News: Darvin Ham Earning Rave Reviews From Coaching Colleagues

Lakers head coach Ham carries a well-respected level of dedication to the craft and to his players.
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Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham has gained respect from his peers over the course of his 15 year coaching career, in large part due to his work ethic and gratitude.

Over the years, Ham has served as a highly-regarded assistant coach with teams like the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks. Since his recent hire in June 2022, Ham is currently serving his first head coaching job with the Los Angeles Lakers. He's currently 14 games into his new position.

His assertiveness and dedication have helped place him in such important coaching positions, and those traits have only developed since initially brewing within him as a young player himself. Ham suited up for eight NBA seasons as a wing, playing for the Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, Washington Wizards, Bucks, Hawks, and Detroit Pistons.

As a respected role player during his high school years in Milwaukee, Ham was eager to learn how to make an impact in areas beyond scoring. As a coach now, the former Texas Tech small forward instills that notion into his own players, to help them identify effective roles. 

“While plenty of his contemporaries point to his personality as the strength of his coaching, they’re also quick to point out that there’s a strong X’s-and-O’s understanding, especially tailoring to players’ specific strengths the way his coach once did.” (Via Kyle Goon, OC Register). 

Ham credits a list of coaches that he keeps in his circle for advice, from Mike Budenholzer (his head coach while he was an assistant with the Hawks and Bucks), former Pistons teammate/current Portland Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups, Memphis Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins, and former Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder. 

Ham particularly shares a close relationship with Snyder. Beyond the well-known story of how Snyder lent Ham his van back in 2011, their friendship delves to a deeper appreciation and can be traced back to 2008. 

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Ham and Snyder’s careers intersected once Ham requested a trade to Austin while playing for the Albuquerque Thunderbirds. During this time, Snyder also served as Austin’s head coach.

Over a decade later, the two remain in good standing and Ham frequently turns to Snyder for coaching wisdom. Snyder speaks of the two's relation:

“I mostly ask questions, try to help him think about stuff. He knows his team, and he knows what he wants from them.”( Via Kyle Goon, OC Register).

Whether it be through teaching defensive schemes and rotations or simply fostering a level of confidence in the players he’s working with, Ham's attention to detail does not go unnoticed. 

He takes this position with pride regardless of the circumstances, even with his Lakers  facing a tough 4-10 start. In a press conference earlier this season, Ham acknowledged the team's struggles: 

“I’m not that type of human being that wants to wake up every day without a challenge in his life."

Amongst such challenges, Ham strives to maintain and add to legacy— to the Lakers’, to LeBron James’, and to his own.

“I’m not saying you don’t change and become more nuanced, because the head coaching part of it will do that to you,” he said. “But more the man that goes into the job being the same man that comes out. He believes in people. He’s not afraid of tough circumstances. He’s the type of guy who will keep his integrity throughout.”