2 Obvious, 2 subtle moves Darvin Ham must make to turn Lakers into legit contenders

There are some obvious and subtle decisions Ham can make to level this team up.

Rui Hachimura, Los Angeles Lakers
Rui Hachimura, Los Angeles Lakers / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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After Wednesday night's loss, the Los Angeles Lakers slipped back down to tenth in the Western Conference standings. They allowed the Warriors to re-claim ninth place, and put themselves in an increasingly dangerous situation moving forward.

Certain things will have to change for the Lakers over the course of the final month of the regular season. LA is already in serious danger of missing the playoffs, and they will almost certainly find themselves on the outside looking in if they continue going about business like they are doing right now.

The Lakers' roster still has enough talent to finish the season strong and make major improvements to their playoff positioning. These are two obvious as well as two subtle moves Head Coach Darvin Ham can make to level the team up going forward.

Obvious: Keep Rui in the starting lineup

Since the Lakers' February 3 game at the New York Knicks, Ham has gone with Rui Hachimura as the starting power forward, and it has paid big dividends. LA has recorded a 9-5 record since making this simple adjustment.

Rui's 52% shooting from the field and 41% mark from three-point range along with his strong defense have provided a major lift to the Lakers' starting lineup. His contributions have been an upgrade over Taurean Prince's services, who is better suited playing off the bench.

Even when Jarred Vanderbilt returns from his foot injury, Ham would do well to keep Hachimura in the starting lineup. Vando's defense is obviously strong as well, but Rui brings a good percentage of what he does on that end while being much more prolific offensively.