Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham believes that his current squad is very close to being in a position to win an NBA title.
Ham spoke to ESPN and indicated that the Lakers’ offseason moves have bolstered the team’s depth. He also believes that the potential for the team to thrive is in place.
“Absolutely [I think we’re close to a championship team],” said Ham. “We have leadership like LeBron James and Anthony Davis; some of the talent we were able to bring back in Rui Hachimura, Austin Reaves and D’Angelo Russell.
“Then, you think about the guys we added in Gabe Vincent, Taurean Prince, Cam Reddish, Jaxson Hayes. I think the sky is the limit for what we will be able to do.
“I think we added a lot of depth, a lot of guys that have skill, size and athleticism, so I look forward to all of that coming together.”
Ham is getting ready to start his second season at the helm of the Lakers. When he took over last year, the team was coming off one of the most disappointing seasons in franchise history.
That 2021-22 campaign also offered the possibility of a championship for the Lakers. However, major injuries and chemistry problems resulted in the team failing to even make the playoffs.
After that shocking fall, Ham replaced former Lakers coach Frank Vogel. The Lakers managed to reach the playoffs after struggling for much of the 2022-23 regular season.
However, once the postseason began, the Lakers pulled off six-game upsets of the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors. Dreams of getting to the 2023 NBA Finals came to an end when the Lakers were swept in four games by the eventual league champion Denver Nuggets.
Despite that disappointment, the Lakers were able to keep important pieces of the roster by signing the trio of Hachimura, Reaves and Russell to contract extensions. Free agent deals also helped reinforce the depth that’s been a weakness in recent years.
Davis was also re-signed to a massive contract extension, which ensures that he’ll be with the team for years to come.
As far as James, his future beyond the upcoming season is uncertain due to his current contract. He may very well end up concluding his career in a Lakers uniform, but the team is no doubt planning for contingencies next year if he leaves.
Still, with such a positive outlook and James’ collection of four NBA titles, it seems clear that the Lakers will get the veteran’s very best effort.
The specter of injuries to players hovers over all teams, with the Lakers clearly aware of how much damage can be done from key losses. Right now, Ham is focusing on the most upbeat assessment and hopes to be proven correct in the year ahead.