Second-year Los Angeles Lakers head coach, Darvin Ham, provided insights during Lakers media day on October 2nd, discussing various topics. A prominent focus was his optimism entering the second year, following a roller-coaster first season that culminated in a Western Conference Finals defeat against the Denver Nuggets.
Ham expressed that he felt like he had “seen pretty much everything” last season. The Lakers’ tumultuous first half was marked by injuries, poor team chemistry, and offensive inconsistencies. However, mid-season adjustments steered them toward securing the 7th seed in the Western Conference Playoffs. In the playoffs, they triumphed over the Minnesota Timberwolves in a play-in game, the 2nd-seeded Memphis Grizzlies in six games, and the 6th-seeded Golden State Warriors in six games before falling to Denver.
As the 2023-2024 season approaches, the Lakers have retained most of their key players, with the notable exceptions being Dennis Schroder, Troy Brown Jr., and Malik Beasley, with the latter two not playing pivotal roles towards the end of the season.
To compensate for Schroder’s departure, who averaged 26 minutes per game during the 2023 playoffs, the Lakers acquired Gabe Vincent, a former Miami Heat guard who started every game during the Heat’s finals run, where they, too, succumbed to the Denver Nuggets.
In addition, the Lakers welcomed Christian Wood, a versatile big man formerly with the Mavericks, Rockets, and Pistons. Standing at 6’9″, Wood’s ability to shoot consistently from beyond the arc (with percentages of 38.6% and 39% in past seasons) provides the Lakers with much-needed shooting prowess.
When questioned about the positive roster changes in the off-season, Coach Ham emphasized the increased versatility it brings to the team. He noted that they now possess a “speed lineup, a small ball lineup, and a power ball lineup,” allowing for diverse personnel combinations to tackle the varied challenges posed by opponents.
Ham also highlighted that these roster improvements and the uncertainty regarding rotations will make the training camp “highly competitive.” Nevertheless, he expressed great enthusiasm, stating that “the spirit in the building is phenomenal.”
As the Lakers gear up for the 2023-2024 season, Coach Darvin Ham’s optimism and the team’s strategic roster adjustments are setting the stage for what could be an exciting and competitive season ahead.