3 changes Darvin Ham must make to save his job as Lakers head coach

Los Angeles Lakers v Portland Trail Blazers
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2. Start phasing D'Angelo Russell out as Gabe Vincent gets healthy

This is something that Ham has seemingly already started to do so he might be getting a head start on this. The best version of the Lakers is a version where the team trades D'Angelo Russell for an improvement and that has been the case all season.

Gabe Vincent isn't even someone who Lakers fans should be in love with as there are legitimate concerns around his game as well. But for the time being, he is someone who can help the Lakers ease away from Russell (once he is healthy) to prepare the team for a trade that is not a culture shock.

Russell entered the season with a new hunger to be a good defender (citing Derrick White as his inspiration) and to play impactful basketball. That lasted all of six weeks, as Russell has taken a huge step back as a defender and has been ice-cold on the offensive end.

Russell is averaging 9.8 points, 5.7 assists and 2.3 rebounds in 26.3 minutes per game in December. He is shooting 39.7% from the field, 30% from three and has not made a single free throw (as of December 20) in the entire month.

We have said it time and time again here at Lake Show Life. Russell is a talented player who can have some great games when the stakes are low (such as against the Detroit Pistons). But when rubber meets the road, Russell's play style does not translate to winning basketball and that shows up in the postseason.

It is time for Ham to start phasing Russell out before he inevitably gets traded in January or early February.