While the Los Angeles Lakers have a new coach in Darvin Ham, the biggest issue facing the team is the roster and its trio of superstars. LeBron James is nearing 40, Anthony Davis can’t stay healthy consistently and Russell Westbrook is past his prime. The team knows what they have in LeBron and Westbrook but Davis is the biggest wild card.
He looked like one of the best players in the world just two years ago. Since then, he’s missed 78 regular season games. If Davis can stay healthy and return to form, the Lakers can contend for a title again. Ham is well aware of that fact and wasn’t afraid to put some serious pressure on the eight-time All-Star.
“I think he’s the key,” Ham said of Davis at his introductory press conference. “We’ve all seen what can happen when he’s healthy, when he’s playing at a high level, when he’s in a good rhythm. We saw it in the bubble. His skill set, his size, his versatility, his defensive acumen, his relentlessness, his ability to give multiple efforts defensively is key. It’s going to be the foundation of the type of standard we set within a ‘Darvin Ham Era.’ It’s going to be built on that defense and he’s going to be the main piece, the centerpiece of it.”
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Ham Wants Consistency out of Davis
Those were certainly some blunt comments about Davis. Ham knows how important it is to get the big man going again. He didn’t even stop there. Ham detailed exactly what he needs from Davis going forward.
“LeBron’s going to be great, LeBron’s going to be LeBron. Russ is going to be Russ. But we need consistency out of Anthony Davis. We need him to be healthy, we need him to be in a good mental space and we need him to be as consistent as possible. Back to playing that championship basketball,” Ham said. “We’re going to do everything in our power to support him, give him whatever he needs and keep him moving forward and getting stronger as the season gets longer.”
Ham is essentially calling out Davis indirectly. The superstar hasn’t been consistent since becoming a Laker. There’s no doubt that Ham will be in Davis’ ear a lot in the coming months.
Can Davis Return to Form?
Much of Davis’ struggles have been due to injury but he hasn’t been playing his best basketball when healthy. He averaged 21.8 points a game last season and 23.2 points a game this season, which were his lowest averages since his second year in the league. That’s simply not good enough for how much the Lakers invested to get him and retain him.
Ham clearly isn’t afraid to put Davis on blast if he has to. That could be what the superstar needs as he’s appeared to lack a ton of fire over the last two seasons. The Lakers aren’t going anywhere if Davis keeps getting injured. Perhaps the most important part of Ham’s job this season is figuring out how to get Davis to return to superstar form.