Darvin Ham Goes Off About LeBron James, Anthony Davis & Russell Westbrook

Lakers stars LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook

Getty Lakers stars LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook

New Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham talked about LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook after practice on September 28th and Lakers fans will love what the 49-year-old had to say about his three superstars.

Ham, who won the 2004 championship with the Detroit Pistons as a player and the 2021 title with the Milwaukee Bucks as an assistant coach, said James, Davis and Westbrook have been fantastic in practice thus far.

“LeBron is not from this planet, that’s for damn sure,” Ham said. “AD, his ability to pass. And it’s funny, you see AD working on different things within the practice setting. We know he can score. We know he can get it in the post and do what he needs to do. But just his ability to get it, doesn’t like what he sees, go to a second side DHO (dribble handoff) or play a third side pick-and-roll, be a playmaker, offensive rebound. Russ, just the open spacing of it not being a five-out, where you can build a wall straight across the free-throw line. The fact that it’s a tandem, him getting in transition and being able to explode through the paint, finish, hit guys in the corners for 3s.

“So it’s just different elements that’s going to suit all of them. And then Bron again, his ability to defensive rebound and bring it. We have different calls within the early offense that’s going to allow him to ISO straight off a defensive rebound and he’s also calling guys and playing two-man and three-man games as well. So I think they’re getting their hands on it pretty good and we just gotta keep working at it.”

James, Davis and Westbrook appeared in only 21 games together last season. The Lakers were 11-10 with their three All-Stars on the floor together, a 43-win pace over the course of an 82-game season.

James, Westbrook & Davis Committed to Making Big 3 Work

According to a July 18th report from Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, James, Westbrook and Davis “huddled up on a phone conversation” during the first weekend of Summer League in Las Vegas, with each future Hall of Famer expressing their commitment to one another. The conversation was organized to make sure all three players were on the same page.

James, who pushed the Lakers to acquire Westbrook from the Washington Wizards during the summer of 2021, didn’t say hi or sit next to Westbrook during the Lakers’ Summer League game on July 8th. Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register reported on July 15th that “several people within the Lakers organization acknowledged it was an awkward and tense moment between its two most high-profile superstars.”

However, James was asked if the Lakers could be successful with Westbrook on the roster during media day and the King didn’t mince words.

“Oh absolutely,” James said. “Absolutely. Look forward to, like I said, being a part of the journey with him this year and it’s gonna be a great year for him and we’re gonna be right there with him. We’re here and it starts tomorrow. It’s all about putting in the work, and when you put in the work, you’ll see the results. So, looking forward to it.”

The Lakers missed the playoffs in 2021-22 and Westbrook didn’t play particularly well. Although the one-time MVP averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists, Westbrook was second in the NBA in turnovers and posted an effective field goal percentage of 47.6%, which was sixth-worst in the league.

For Westbrook to be a better fit next to James and Davis than he was last season, he has to make his perimeter shots. The UCLA product shot 29.8% from beyond the arc last season, and among 46 players to take at least 1,000 shots, Westbrook ranked 42nd in true shooting percentage.

No Guarantee Westbrook Finishes Season in LA

The Lakers didn’t trade Westbrook during the summer. However, he could still be moved before the 2023 trade deadline.

In a September 22nd piece called “Lakers Bold Predictions Ahead of 2022-23 NBA Season,” Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley predicted that Westbrook, who is in the final year of his contract, wouldn’t open the new year in Los Angeles.

“It’s possible the Lakers honestly believe this can still work, but what is there to see? Westbrook isn’t a good fit for the roster. His ball dominance doesn’t work alongside LeBron James, and his erratic shooting hurts everyone around him,” Buckley wrote. “It seems more likely L.A. is leaving no stone unturned in its attempt to shed the nine-time All-Star (and his $47.1 million salary, per Spotrac) without sacrificing both of the future first-round picks it’s allowed to trade. At some point soon, the Lakers will concede that just isn’t possible and will package those picks with Westbrook to get him out and bring in a contributor or two who actually fit this group.”

The Lakers, who replaced Frank Vogel with Ham, acquired Patrick Beverley from the Utah Jazz and signed Dennis Schroder in free agency this summer. They also have Kendrick Nunn, Austin Reaves and Lonnie Walker IV on the roster, creating a possible logjam at the guard position if Westbrook isn’t traded.

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Michael Markowich
Michael Markowich
1 month ago

Start winning and play consistently, then I will believe what Ham is saying . They have been mismanaged and brought in players who don’t match up well . Let them get the ship back on course .

Michael Markowich
Michael Markowich
1 month ago

Blah , blah , blah , talk is cheap . They do this every year . Now the coach is a Marketing mouthpiece

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