Darvin Ham Talks Russell Westbrook, Holding Lakers Accountable

First-year Lakers coach Darvin Ham has said he’s spoken with point guard Russell Westbrook and is focusing on Westbrook being able to “sacrifice” for the good of the team. He also seems to believe in Westbrook.Darvin Ham

“Don’t get it messed up. Russ is one of the best players our league has ever seen, Ham said, via Mike Scotto of HoopsHype. “There’s still a ton left in that tank.”

Ham was speaking at his introductory press conference, where he touched on a number of topics related to perhaps the league’s most disappointing team. He is in his first season as a head coach after serving as an assistant under Mike Budenholzer with the Bucks and Hawks.

Ham touched on multiple topics during his press conference:

  • On a report that former Pistons teammate Rasheed Wallace will become an assistant in LA: “We’re working through that,” via Jovan Buha of the Athletic.
  • On the pressure of coaching the high-profile Lakers: “I grew up in Saginaw, Michigan. I was shot in the face by accident on April 5th, 1988. You go through something like that it’s going to do one of two things — it’s going to make you fearful or fearless. It made me fearless,” via Scotto.

Ham also indicated that the Lakers’ success will start on defense, where they struggled mightily last season. He added that accountability with start with LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Westbrook, telling reporters that he intends to takes a “fact over feelings” approach.

The Lakers are coming off a season in which they failed to qualify for even the play-in tournament under Frank Vogel, who was fired a day after the final game.

On the bright side, Ham said he was motivated to coach the team after speaking with James.

“I talked to LeBron in my first day in the gym and I wanted to start training camp the next day,” he said, via Ryan Ward of Lakers Nation.

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