The Los Angeles Lakers host the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night after failing to end the series in Game 5 on Wednesday. It is not an absolute must-win for the Lake Show as the team still has a 3-2 series lead but no fan wants to see this series return to Memphis for a Game 7.
While Los Angeles is still in control of this series, the Game 6 loss was very concerning. It was a stern reminder that Darvin Ham is a first-year head coach and is still learning on the job. Couple in the fact that his coaching mentor, Mike Budenholzer, blew his series and fans are not very confident in Ham right now.
The only way that Ham is going to earn the confidence of the fanbase back is by proving it in Game 6. Los Angeles doesn’t just need to win but Ham needs to show that he has learned from some of his mistakes from earlier in this series.
Luckily, it appears that Ham is trying his best to make these steps as he is taking the time to review the rotations that fans have so heavily criticized in this series.
Darvin Ham tells Lakers fans exactly what they want to hear.
The hope from this is that Ham is pinpointing his coaching deficiencies and has a plan in place to fix his rotation. Because right now, the decisions that were made in the rotation are the primary reason why Los Angeles is still playing and not resting for round two.
There are several things that Ham can do better. Whether it be playing the hot hands more (Rui Hachimura only played five minutes in the first half of Game 5), keeping his players in for key moments (pulling Anthony Davis in the third quarter of Game 5 killed the Lakers) or coming up with better rotations around LeBron and AD, there are plenty of improvements to be made.
Is Ham going to be able to completely reinvent the wheel with one day off in a hard-fought playoff series? Absolutely not. Can he make strategic changes to catch the Grizzlies off guard and ensure another 19-2 run does not happen? Absolutely.
This team is going to go as far as Ham is going to take them. Los Angeles has the talent to make an NBA Finals push. It is all up to Ham to put that talent in the best position to win.