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The Los Angeles Lakers hired Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darvin Ham as their new head coach on Friday to replace Frank Vogel, according to ESPN. Adrian Wojnarowski.
Ham is signed to a four-year contract, according to The Athletic and Stadium. Shams Charania.
Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn
Ham made a strong impression on the Lakers in several areas, including his championship pedigree, commanding presence, star coaching history, and tenacity. Ham will begin to assemble a staff which should include head coaching experience. https://t.co/8hCVatbraw
Vogel was fired on April 11 on the heels of a very disappointing season in which LA went just 33-49 and missed the playoffs despite championship aspirations.
Injuries to LeBron James and Anthony Davis played a big role in Los Angeles’ struggles, as did the inability to properly fit Russell Westbrook into the roster after the Lakers acquired him from the Washington Wizards, but c Vogel paid the price.
Vogel was hired ahead of the 2019-20 season after the Lakers missed the playoffs for six consecutive seasons with Mike D’Antoni, Byron Scott and Luke Walton at the helm.
The move paid immediate dividends, as Vogel guided James, Davis and Co. to a 52-19 record and an NBA championship, which was the franchise’s first since 2010.
Winning a title has created even greater expectations, and the Lakers have come nowhere near meeting them in the past two seasons.
LA needed to go through the postseason play-in tournament to make the playoffs in 2020-21 after going 42-30 during the regular season, and it fell to the eventual LA Conference champion. ‘West Phoenix Suns in the first round of the playoffs.
A first-round exit put Vogel on notice, and there was no way he would stay when the Lakers were unable to make the 2021-22 qualifying tournament.
While the Lakers were a flawed team last season, even when James and Davis were healthy, they remained an attractive option for potential coaching candidates.
The duo of LeBron and AD can still achieve great things with the right casting and coaching, and the unmistakable aura of the Lakers still exists.
In an effort to bounce back from last season’s massive disappointment, the Lakers are somewhat surprisingly turning to someone with no previous experience as an NBA head coach.
Ham first became an assistant coach at the NBA level with the Lakers from 2011 to 2013 before moving on to the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks. Ham was also instrumental in the Bucks winning a championship at the end of the 2020-21 season.
Going with someone who isn’t firmly established as an NBA head coach is a risk from the Lakers, but since Ham spent eight seasons as an NBA player and won a championship with the Detroit Pistons in 2004, it shouldn’t take him. long to earn the respect of James, Davis and Co.
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