Darvin Ham Issues Challenge to Lakers Following Impressive Win

Darvin Ham, Los Angeles Lakers

Getty Darvin Ham of the Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers secured their best win of the season on December 2, defeating the Milwaukee Bucks 133-129.

Speaking to the media after the game, Darvin Ham issues a challenge to his Lakers team, urging them to continue approaching games with the same level of hunger as if they were facing the Boston Celtics, Bucks, or Golden State Warriors.

“Just everybody being engaged. And again, this can’t just be a one-game thing. It’s easy to get up the Bucks. It’s easy to get up for the Celtics. It’s easy to get up for Golden State. You know this is something we have to do every time we step on the floor. And again, it’s not about who we’re playing, it’s how do we want to represent ourselves as the Los Angeles Lakers,” Ham said.

The Lakers have been improving in recent weeks, winning five of their last seven games and climbing up to 12th in the Western Conference courtesy of some elite performances from Anthony Davis.

Lonnie Walker Sounds Off About Future With Lakers

Outside of Davis, Lonnie Walker IV has been an impressive member of the Lakers rotation, averaging 16.5 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game while shooting 36.5% from deep and 55.1% from two-point range.

When speaking to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin on November 25, Walker addressed his long-term future with the Lakers, having signed a one-year deal with the team during the off-season.

“I’m here for one year. I would love to be here for as long as I can. So what do I have to do to get to that point? Being disciplined, being engaged, and just stacking the days and being the best I can be is something that’s going to get me there,” Walker said. 

Given Walker’s impact and the additional spacing he provides to the Los Angeles roster, it’s hard to envision the front office letting him leave when his contract expires at the end of the season, especially given their need for perimeter scorers who can also attack off the dribble and provide some off-ball gravity.

LeBron Hints at Potential Role Change

Another interesting aspect of the Lakers’ upturn in fortune has been Davis’s resurgence and the aggression he’s currently playing with. Of course, Davis’ improved outings coincided with LeBron being out of the rotation due to injury, however, in a November 30 press conference, LeBron hinted at a willingness to take a step back within the Lakers’ offensive hierarchy if it meant Davis could continue to flourish. 

“We won a championship together. I think this is what, year four for us? I think, Maybe? I don’t need to have a talk with AD about if I come back you need to defer. No. AD be AD, and we’ll figure it out around him. I’ll figure it out, I’m ok with that, and I can do that. But, we’re gonna keep the ball in AD’s hands, and when he’s rebounding like he did tonight, he’s blocking shots, super engaged. It’s our job as a lot of the ball handlers, mine, Dias, Austin, Russ, to get him the ball, and we did that tonight,” LeBron said.

If LeBron taking a step back in role on offense is what the Lakers need to sustain Davis’ current level of play, and it helps keep LeBron fresh for the playoffs, then Los Angeles could find themselves on the brink of figuring out a winning formula, and then the rest of the NBA will need to sit up and take notice.