Ham, 48, will be a head coach for the first time after spending the last eight years as an assistant under Mike Budenholzer, first with the Hawks and most recently with the Bucks.
He’ll be trying to revive a team that failed to qualify for the postseason under former coach Frank Vogel. And it’s an older team — as the Lakers entered this past season with the oldest roster in NBA history.
Barkley has his doubts that Ham is the answer.
“Well I’m glad Darvin got an opportunity ’cause he’s paid his dues,” Barkley told Dan Patrick, via Lakers Daily. “He’s a nice guy. We’ll have to see what kind of coach he is. But listen, if one of your coaches is close to the same age as your players, your team not gonna be any good anyway.”
The Lakers are expected to return LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and whether they want to or not, also Russell Westbrook. James turns 38-years old in December. Davis is injury-prone. And Westbrook was not a good fit, at least not consistently.,
“The Lakers, they got a serious dilemma on their hands,” Barkley said. “Their best player’s gonna be 40. Anthony Davis has never been healthy. Obviously, Russ is gonna be there one more year, so what’s really bad about the situation — next year is gonna be the same as this year. And then LeBron just gonna be a year older, and then they’ll have Russ off the books.”
Barkley is right. Ham is entering a tricky situation. The Lakers aren’t likely to look much different than this past season. So Ham is facing a tall task for a man who’s never be in charge of the sideline and timeouts.
“Time will tell if the Lakers find success in the 2022-23 season,” wrote Sam Leweck of Lakers Daily. “After their miserable 2021-22 campaign, the Lakers have a lot to prove. They’d surely love to make Barkley eat his words.”