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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3. Increase Rui Hachimura's role

One of the most surprising things this season has been how small Rui Hachimura's role has been for the Los Angeles Lakers. This goes hand-in-hand with the Prince change that Ham needs to make as giving Prince fewer minutes will directly benefit Hachimura.

Fans were expecting Hachimura to have a big role on this team after the great showing he had in the 2023 NBA Playoffs. All summer long fans were hearing about how Hachimura was working closely with LeBron James and even traveled with LeBron to improve his craft.

Los Angeles bought in on this Hachimura buzz and signed him to a three-year, $51 million contract in the offseason. That was a ringing endorsement of the young forward that seemingly indicated that he would play a big role this season. So far, he hasn't, as he ranks eighth in minutes played per game.

It has been somewhat hard to get Hachimura fully integrated as he has multiple stretches of missed games this season but that is not enough of an excuse for Ham. The only time Hachimura is getting more than his typical 20-23 minutes per game is when the Lakers are in garbage time.

This makes no sense as Hachimura is one of the better shooters on a team that needs shooting (he ranks third in three-point percentage on the team this season). Sure, he is not a lockdown defender, but it is not like he is much worse than Prince and he does so much more offensively.

At this point, the only explanation that seems viable is favoritism and that Ham likes Prince more for reasons that are impossible to comprehend.

dark. Next. Gave up on. 22 players the Lakers gave up on too early