NBA

Lakers coach Darvin Ham says he won’t hesitate to bench guys

Part of what made Darvin Ham such an enticing hire for the Los Angeles Lakers was his no-nonsense approach to coaching.

Ham is a strong presence with a commendable basketball pedigree, and those are two presumably necessary qualities anyone assuming a leadership role for the NBA’s most popular team must possess, especially when that team has LeBron James on its roster.

Ham was the right man for the job in L.A.’s eyes, and recently, he doubled down on his militant approach to his new role by expressing his willingness to bench any player “without hesitation” should they fail to live up to their predetermined expectations.

According to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes, Ham and James have been developing a new philosophy in cohesion with each other, one that focuses on intensity and teamwork. Haynes wrote:

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Ham agreed with James and reiterated that his main objectives are to hold everyone accountable and foster an atmosphere of selflessness, sources said. He voiced that defensive tenacity needs to be picked up all across the roster and also forewarned that players would have to play new roles and if he sensed reluctance, he wouldn’t hesitate to remove them from the game, sources said.

“Undisputed” cohost and resident Lakers fan Shannon Sharpe was ecstatic to hear this ideology and surmised that Ham would have much more freedom to exact his will than previous coach Frank Vogel.

“I think the front office is going to give him more leeway,” Sharpe said on Tuesday’s episode of the show.

He dialed his focus onto point guard Russell Westbrook, whose displeasure with being benched in crucial situations became a highly-publicized topic last season in Tinseltown.

“If Russ isn’t playing up to the expectations that Darvin Ham has set forth, I believe he’ll end up benching him,” Sharpe said. “It’s going to be an unpopular move with Russ, especially somebody as competitive as he is. I think you have to come in and have guidelines, lay boundaries and hold players accountable. And if you’re not meeting expectations, we have a place for you: It’s called the bench.

Skip Bayless’ thought process differed from Sharpe’s. In Bayless’ mind, Ham doesn’t have as much jurisdiction as he might think he does. 

“This is a whole new Hollywood world, and Darvin is presenting himself as the new sheriff in town — ‘I got this,'” Bayless said. “But I don’t think he got this. I don’t think he gets what’s about to hit him between the eyes. 

“LeBron is LeBron, and he’s earned the right to be a diva, because he’s still the face of the league. And Anthony Davis is a multi-time All-Star, and he’s going to play in his own world. And now you’ve got to deal with a Russ, who, just last year, upon arriving in Hollywood, had a documentary drop called ‘The Life and Times of Russell Westbrook’, attended by LeBron and all the Lakers. How do you bench that guy?”

Darvin Ham ‘wouldn’t hesitate’ to bench players who don’t embrace new roles

Darvin Ham 'wouldn't hesitate' to bench players who don't embrace new roles

After meeting with LeBron James last week, Darvin Ham is bringing a new mindset to the Los Angeles Lakers.


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