In a sense, being a head coach for an NBA team is like being the President of the United States. Before they are sworn into office, there is a lot of speculation as to whether they are the correct fit for the position or if there are other candidates more worthy. After they accept the responsibilities that come with the job and get started, there are always circumstances that must be addressed immediately. When those circumstances linger on, the man in charge must then always face the consequences. The population that they represent will quickly turn against them when things are not going smoothly. All of this is intensified in a historic franchise like the Los Angeles Lakers.
When those circumstances are eventually contained, though, the commander and his counsel can move forward to other hindrances holding the collective congregation back from the holy land.
For all of the hard work that these leaders put in behind the scenes, it seems like the only type of public recognition that they ever receive is for the wrong reasons. Most of the time it is the fanbase that pushes the front office executives to switch things up on the sidelines, but there has been a growing trend of star players pronouncing their head coaching disinclinations on a public scale.
Believe it or not, there is an entire staff of coaches responsible for keeping the train on the tracks throughout an entire NBA season. With the outlined negativity which they are repeatedly slapped in the face with, it is time to give them some well-deserved love for a change.
You may recognize them from their frequent frolicking in the faces of the refs from their courtside seats, but here is a closer look at the men hoping to tour the entire Lakers organization to the mountaintop in 2023-2024.
Information obtained via NBA.com. Shoutout in advance to Micah Fraction, David Serge, and Ralik Wise. Their contributions as the video coordinating team for this staff may not be seen, but it is nonetheless integral to the success of the entire team. Keep going gentleman, one day the world will notice your grind.
Breaking down the Los Angeles Lakers’ 2023-24 coaching staff:
Head coach: Darvin Ham
Ham is entering his second season as the head man on the bench for the Los Angeles Lakers. While things got off to a tumultuous start in his inaugural year, the seas smoothened by the end of the year. There were ups and there were downs, but Darvin performed admirably when it came to sifting the ship through every single rogue wave.
His hiring with Los Angeles was his first official head coaching gig, but it was a hiring that many would agree to have been long overdue. He has a plethora of assistant coaching experience, and has worked with some of the league’s biggest names.
Prior to taking over the Laker charge, he gained valuable knowledge and wisdom as a primary assistant on Mike Budenholzer’s coaching staff with the Milwaukee Bucks. Contributing to not only the monstrous maturation of Giannis Antetekuonmpo but also the 2021 NBA Championship are among his top feats so far as a coach.
While he has relied heavily on his cranium for his coaching contributions, he leaned largely on his athleticism during his playing days. While he never became a big name and/or earned big minutes as a hooper, he did earn the nickname of “Dunkin Darvin” via his thunderous slamma jammas. He spent 9 seasons in the NBA and also made a few professional pit stops in Spain, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines along the way. He is an alum of Texas Tech and was born in Saginaw, Michigan.
He has built a reputation as a player’s coach, and it is very clear that he is beloved among the ballers beside him.
Lead Assistant Coach: Chris Jent
A product of New Jersey, Jent’s relationship with Ham was embellished during the two’s time with the Hawks. He joined this staff as Darvin’s lead assistant, essentially becoming his right-hand man.
Jent came to Los Angeles with a wealth of coaching experience. Throughout the span of his coaching career, he has served on five separate NBA staffs. While most of that time was served as an assistant, he did endure a short stint as the interim head coach of the Orlando Magic in 2004-2005. He was also the head coach of the G League’s Bakersfield Jam in 2015-16, and has spent time as an Assistant to the iconic Thad Matta with Ohio State (his alma mater).
His 10-year professional playing career was split up between the NBA, CBA, and Overseas. He has never earned a title to this point as a coach, but did receive a ring during his playing days as a member of the 1994 NBA Champion Houston Rockets.
Player Development Coach: Phil Handy
The Handyman is one of the most prized assistant coaches in the association. A key cog of the 2019-2020 championship run with the Lakers, he joined Frank Vogel’s staff prior to that campaign having already earned two titles with two other separate franchises (Toronto and Cleveland). Success has always been his shadow.
Prior to his work in the NBA, he spent some time working with up-and-comers in the world of AAU. Through his determination and the connections he has made during his basketball journey, he has become one of the most trusted trainers in the sport.
Not only has he gained the trust of those that he works with, but he has also earned their respect. If that were not the case, he would not have the audacity to jaw with LeBron James. The two are not only associates in the grander business of basketball, but they have forged a genuine friendship through years of partnership.
As far as playing goes, he hooped at the University of Hawaii for two seasons before experiencing two stints in the NBA with the Warriors and Trail Blazers. He has also played professionally in the CBA and has traveled to several foreign destinations to play the game that he loves.
Assistant Coach: Jordan Ott
Ott came to town upon the hiring of Darvin Ham, and the roots of their relationship go back to their shared time in Atlanta. Another detail that probably drew Ham to Ott was the Bachelor’s Degree that Jordan earned from Michigan State (the state where Ham was born and bred).
Ott has put together a very solid coaching resume thus far in his career, with the most recent pin on his voyage being in Brooklyn. After six solid seasons with the Nets, the Lakers quickly swooped in to swindle him away. He was the head coach of the Nets 2021 Summer League team and then followed that up as the head coach of the Lakers 2022 Summer League team.
He does not have any collegiate/professional playing experience, but everything appears very exciting in terms of what lies ahead in his coaching career.
Assistant Coach: J.D. DuBois
Another of Ham’s trusty sidekicks, DuBois is also preparing for his second season on the Los Angeles bench. Just like Ott, he has already built an impressive track record in coaching. This Summer, he was the head coach of the Lakers Summer League team. He was also the head coach of the 2021 Detroit Pistons Summer League team and served as an assistant in Detroit from 2018-2022. Prior to jumping ship to Detroit, he spent time in a player development role with the Toronto Raptors.
While he never competed in the NBA as a player, he did play professionally for a few teams internationally. He also played collegiately, starting at Loyola Marymount University before finishing at Utah in 2012-13.
Outside of his coaching endeavors, DuBois has also founded his own non-profit organization through the game of basketball. His organization, titled EHAS (Everyone Has A Story), was launched in 2016 with the intention of improving mental well-being within Black communities through service, outreach, and education. The initiative is truly an inspirational one, and you can learn more about what they are up to at the EHAS website.
Assistant Coach: Schuyler Rimmer
Would you be stunned if Schuyler Rimmer had previously worked with the Atlanta Hawks and/or Milwaukee Bucks? Surprise, surprise, because that is indeed the case. Preparing for his second go-round as part of the Laker coaching staff, Rimmer spent his previous four seasons as an assistant video coordinator in Milwaukee. Before backing the Bucks, he was a helper with the Hawks.
Rimmer’s playing career never reached a professional peak, but he did compete collegiately with Stanford and Florida after a highly decorated high school career. He has a lot of room to grow (as do the others), and it will be cool to see how far he can go in the coaching realm.
Assistant Coach: Zach Peterson
Another of the Laker’s coaching sophomores, Peterson came over from Oklahoma City after occupying a player development position with the Thunder since the 2019-20 season. Where was he prior to his time in OKC, you ask? Go figure that prior to hopping over to the Thunder staff, he held the role of head video coordinator for a season with the Bucks.
Where was he prior to his time in Milwaukee, you ask? Of course, he was in Atlanta as a member of the video coordinating team for the Hawks. He spent four seasons there, working his way up from intern to head video coordinator before his time came to a close. He never competed on the court at either the collegiate or professional levels, but he did spend time as a student manager for both the Women’s and Men’s teams at Michigan State during his time in college.
Assistant Coach: DeMarre Carroll
Still just 37 years old, DeMarre Carroll could probably still be hooping if he wanted to. However, he felt that a new calling was tugging on him prior to the start of last season. That urge inevitably led to him join Mike Budenholzer’s staff in Milwaukee as an assistant in 2022-2023. Flash forward to this season, and Darvin Ham poached him and he is now preparing for his first season with the Lakers as a coach.
The University of Missouri product embarked on a solid 11-year career as a player, suiting up for 8 different franchises along the way. Through his time as a journeyman during his playing career, he clearly picked up immense insights into the art of coaching from the many leaders that he learned from.
He should prove to be a solid addition to this coaching staff, and is probably the only coach that can legitimately scrimmage against the active players. There could be an argument to be made that he is the active Laker individual most capable of defending LeBron James.