LA Lakers Players Reportedly Criticize Coach Darvin Ham on Three Occasions

Amid a challenging season, the LA Lakers face internal discord.

by Faizan Chaudhary
LA Lakers Players Reportedly Criticize Coach Darvin Ham on Three Occasions
© Harry How/Getty Images

As the LA Lakers grapple with an unsteady 25-25 record this season, the murmurs for a change at the coaching helm have intensified. Darvin Ham, the man in the spotlight, has not faced direct calls for his dismissal from his players, but there’s a growing sense of discontent in the ranks.

The team's performance has sparked a debate about Ham's strategies, particularly his in-game adjustments and player rotations. A point of contention has been his persistent reliance on Taurean Prince, despite the veteran forward's lackluster shooting.

Amidst this backdrop, signs of frustration are becoming evident among LA's top players, hinting at an underlying tension regarding their inconsistent game plans. Highlighting this brewing storm, here are three instances where Lakers players seemingly expressed veiled criticisms of Coach Ham.

D'Angelo Russell: The Lakers' point guard has experienced a fluctuating season. Following a December slump, Russell was relegated to the bench but reclaimed his starting role last month, showing marked improvement. In a recent game against the Boston Celtics, despite a poor shooting night (5-for-20), Russell's overall performance (16 points, eight rebounds, 14 assists) was pivotal in a victory over the Celtics.

Post-game, Russell emphasized the importance of trust between players and coaches, especially when shots aren't falling. His comments, particularly in light of his previous benching, could be interpreted as an indirect critique of Ham's coaching approach.

LeBron James: Following a crushing defeat to the Atlanta Hawks, LeBron James, when asked about a message for his teammates, began to respond but stopped short, seemingly about to address the coaching issue. The interruption by a reporter left his statement incomplete, but his visible frustration and the context of the question, typically directed at a coach, suggested an implicit dissatisfaction with the coaching strategy.

Anthony Davis: The Lakers' star big man, when queried about his preference for last year's Western Conference finals starting lineup, responded ambiguously. His "That's on coach" remark, accompanied by a telling smile, added to the speculation around the team's growing dissatisfaction with Ham's rotation decisions.

These instances, while not outright condemnations, paint a picture of a team at a crossroads, with its key players subtly signaling their discontent with the coaching direction. As the season progresses, the Lakers' management will be under scrutiny to address these undercurrents and steer the team towards stability and success.