Report: East Scout Thrilled Lakers’ Darvin Ham Waited So Long To Start Russell, Reaves, Hachimura, LeBron, Davis

According to NBA insider Anthony Irwin of Lakers Daily, an Eastern Conference scout was thrilled that Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham waited so long to start D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura, LeBron James and Anthony Davis

Darvin Ham, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA Rumors
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Ham started Taurean Prince over Hachimura to begin the season. He even benched Russell and Reaves. 

“We never honestly thought [Ham] would stick with [not playing last year’s core together] all year,” the Eastern Conference scout said. “We were definitely happy he waited as long as he did and until after we played both our games against him.”

Ham finally started Russell, Reaves, Hachimura, LeBron and Davis on February 3 against the New York Knicks and the Lakers have taken off since then, going 20-9. 

The Lakers are 45-34 on the season. They are in ninth place in the Western Conference standings. The team would probably have a better record if Ham started Russell, Reaves, Hachimura, LeBron and Davis all season. 

“Those guys have incredible confidence in one another,” one Lakers source said. “They knew exactly how to play together almost immediately last season and now that they get to do that again, you can just tell they’ve been waiting all year for this. Not a single one of them is surprised by these results.”

The Lakers are seventh in the NBA in points per game, 23rd in points per game allowed and 19th in net rating. 

“According to sources close to the situation speaking on the condition of anonymity, all year, players, coaches and Lakers staffers alike had been wondering when Ham would finally move on from all the experimenting and focus on the core that went on that miraculous run last season,” Irwin wrote. 

The Lakers got swept by the Denver Nuggets in the 2023 Western Conference Finals. It will be interesting to see if Ham’s group makes the playoffs this year. 

If the Lakers stay in the ninth spot or drop to 10th, they would need to win two play-in games in a row to make the 2024 postseason as the eighth seed. 

If the Lakers finish the season as the seventh or eighth seed, they would have to win just one play-in game to make the 2024 playoffs. 

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