The Los Angeles Lakers have slid down the Western Conference standings since winning the NBA In-Season Tournament and Darvin Ham has been at the center of the struggles. Ham has made very many questionable decisions, which created a reported rift between him and the locker room.
Ham has trotted out some truly bewildering lineups and has obviously had his favorites whether or not they deserved it. Sure, the Lakers have been beaten up by injuries, but Ham's head-scratching rotation decisions have not made things any better.
Lakers fans don't want complex rotations or for Ham to reinvent the wheel. All fans want to see is good basketball and the Lakers proved last season that they can play at a high level. Sometimes less is more and fans justifiably have been begging to see last year's starting lineup get more run this season.
After weeks of struggles, Ham is finally making the change that has been long overdue. Last year's starting lineup is back.
At least... that isn't what Ham meant. Ham actually didn't bring back last year's starting lineup, and instead ran back the starting lineup that ran Austin Reaves to the bench at the beginning of the season. Whoops!
Darvin Ham trolls Lakers fans with near starting lineup change
The first lineup mentioned is the starting five that Ham deployed at the end of the 2022-23 season as well in the playoffs and it obviously had great success. Even after all the additions in the offseason, fans expected Ham to not overthink it and run this lineup back this season.
That was derailed in the beginning of the season with Jarred Vanderbilt missing several weeks to start the season. During that time, Ham developed an infatuation with Taurean Prince that lasted too long. Ham also replaced Austin Reaves with Cam Reddish and continued giving Reddish a big role in the rotation.
Is this starting lineup perfect? Not at all. The backcourt tandem of Russell and Reaves is not the best defensively while Vanderbilt is not an offensive threat. But there is more cohesion in this starting lineup and can perhaps help the Lakers avoid digging themselves into a big hole — which has been a trend this season.
Unfortunately, it all feels like a dream for Lakers fans. The short-lived excitement around last year's lineup was quickly squashed in favor of Prince, who will inevitably hurt the team while he is out there on the court.