Darvin Ham apparently felt like Lakers starter was ’s—ting the bed’ in 10 straight games earlier this season

Peter Dewey
4 Min Read

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham commented on the challenge of having so many key players in and out of the lineup during the 2023-24 season.

The Lakers spent significant time without players like Gabe Vincent, Jarred Vanderbilt, Christian Wood and Cam Reddish this season.

After L.A. was eliminated from the 2024 postseason, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin shared some quotes from Ham — though it’s worth noting that it’s not entirely clear when the quotes were made.

“It’s been extremely challenging,” Ham said. “Everyone that’s been in and out of the lineup. Being criticized for not having a consistent rotation when I don’t have consistent healthy bodies. The thing that frustrates me, and I love this job, I love the pressure that comes with it, I’ve always been calm in the midst of chaos … [But] common sense tends to go out the window when you talk about my job in particular.

“It’s amazing how people just skip that core part of having a consistency with your lineup is all predicated on health and performance. If you’re coaching a team and one of your starters is like 10 games in a row, just s—ting the bed, what are you going to do?”

While Ham didn’t explicitly name one of the Lakers players, it does appear that he was frustrated with the lack of continuity that he could build with his lineups.

That certainly didn’t help the Lakers put some players in the best positions to succeed at points in the season, and it may be a reason why the team finished with the No. 8 seed in the West prior to the play-in tournament.

While Los Angeles still made the playoffs (it earned the No. 7 seed after winning against the New Orleans Pelicans in the play-in tournament), it’s hard not to wonder where the Lakers could have been had they earned a higher seed during the regular season.

Instead, Los Angeles put itself in a position to play the defending champion Denver Nuggets in the first round, a team that it has struggled with under Ham. Since the start of last season’s Western Conference Finals, the Lakers have lost 11 of their 12 games against Denver (including the playoffs).

The Lakers have a big decision to make regarding Ham and their head-coaching position this coming offseason. While the team has made the playoffs in two straight seasons, getting there wasn’t easy either time.

As the head coach of the Lakers, Ham has compiled a 90-74 record in the regular season and a 9-12 mark in the playoffs. The Lakers are just 1-8 across nine games in their last two playoff series (both against Denver).

Ham agreed to a four-year deal with the Lakers prior to the 2022-23 season to replace former L.A. head coach Frank Vogel.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.