Kendrick Nunn says Darvin Ham laid down some ‘house rules’ during first Lakers practice

Zach Stevens
3 Min Read

Many people aren’t optimistic about the Los Angeles Lakers’ prospects this season, but there does appear to be a proverbial breath of fresh air coming into the team’s training camp facility these days..

According to guard Kendrick Nunn, new head coach Darvin Ham is wasting no time establishing the right tone, especially when it comes to the defensive end.

“Laid down some house rules in the film room,” said Nunn, one of six returning players from last year’s team. “It’s definitely a different vibe once you walk in. … It’s a different vibe with the new coaching staff, Coach Ham coming in and implementing things that he wants done. And guys are buying in.”

The Lakers were a terrible defensive team last season, and although they may not finish towards the top of the NBA this year in defensive rating, they do appear to have the tools to mount a significant improvement in that department.

The Lakers’ Defensive Struggles Last Season

In the 2021-22 campaign, Los Angeles had problems aplenty, but the biggest one fans and observers pointed to is the lack of defense.

The team finished 21st in defensive rating, and it wasn’t uncommon for it to give up over 120 points, especially down the stretch when it was losing games in large bunches.

One of the biggest reasons the Lakers couldn’t stop teams was poor roster construction and the advanced age of many of their players.

But this season, they have gotten much younger and faster, and they now have several players who are capable of being at least slightly above average on the defensive end.

It starts with veteran guard Patrick Beverley, who has always been a troublesome pest on defense, but Nunn, Dennis Schroder and Austin Reaves are also men who can consistently make opponents work for good shots.

Up front, L.A. has a much more solid center rotation thanks to Thomas Bryant and Damian Jones, both of whom are reliable shot-blockers.

It still lacks two-way wing defenders who have the length to guard opposing 4s, but it appears the team has taken a sizable step forward defensively.

The Defensive Tone Starts From the Front

As an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Bucks, Ham oversaw some very strong defensive units, including the one that won it all just over a year ago.

Another positive development comes from the Lakers’ leader, LeBron James, who said defense is the one thing they need to improve on from last season.

James has been criticized by many for taking shortcuts on that end of the floor, but when a team’s leader talks about improving defensively and also backs it up, everyone tends to fall in line, as strong leadership is nothing more than effective influence.

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Zach has always had a profound love and respect for the Lakers that has inspired him to write about the franchise. He has a great deal of admiration for LeBron James, and his overall knowledge about the NBA has made him a solid addition to the Lakers Daily staff.