Darvin Ham has yet to win an NBA championship as a head coach, and Shaquille O’Neal said the way LeBron James and Anthony Davis deal with that hole in his resume is part of the Los Angeles Lakers’ recent struggles.
“What I know for a fact, in the locker room, resume is important,” O’Neal said. “You mean to tell me LeBron’s gonna listen to Darvin Ham in the thick of things? I know the answer to that. I’ll let you figure it out. You think A.D. is gonna listen to Darvin Ham?
“You know all the other guys may listen to Darvin. That’s no disrespect to Darvin Ham, but no championship experience, no playoff experience. So, you know, if I’m a guy that been there, been to the title run a lot, why would I listen to a guy that hasn’t been there?”
O’Neal was speaking on his podcast in the aftermath of reports that said there was a “deepening disconnect” between Ham and the locker room that may have put the coach’s job in jeopardy.
A stretch of two wins in 11 games sent the Lakers’ season spiraling and increased the pressure on Ham. In the midst of swirling rumors about the 50-year-old’s future, high-ranking team sources reportedly stated that organization plans to be patient with Ham and let him grow into the head coaching role.
The longtime NBA assistant is in his second season as Lakers head coach. Last season, they advanced all the way to the 2023 Western Conference Finals, where they were swept by the eventual NBA champion Denver Nuggets.
This season, Ham has been tinkering with the Lakers’ rotation in an effort to improve their recent fortunes. A report from earlier this week said that James and Davis were consulted as part of Ham’s decision to replace D’Angelo Russell in the starting lineup.
Ham’s hold on the team has been questioned, and his performance has drawn some harsh criticism from ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins. Former Lakers champion Lamar Odom also weighed in by suggesting they return to using the triangle offense made famous by Phil Jackson.
O’Neal himself invoked Jackson’s name by saying he was the type of coach who had the type of resume he was speaking about, coming to the Lakers after winning titles with the Chicago Bulls. The NBA legend also mentioned Pat Riley in the same vein, as O’Neal also won an NBA crown under him with the Miami Heat.
The Lakers are showing signs of turning things around with a two-game winning streak heading into their game against the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night. The goal remains to win another NBA championship, which would surely enhance Ham’s resume.