The Los Angeles Lakers have struggled immensely since winning the first NBA In-Season Tournament and have looked more like a lottery team than a contending team in the process. Los Angeles' struggles continued on Wednesday night as the team was comfortably defeated at home by the Miami Heat.
The Lakers are now under .500 on the season with a 17-18 record. Since the In-Season Tournament, Los Angeles is 3-9. After such a promising start to the season, the Lakers are now 10th in the Western Conference with no signs of this bad stretch ending any time soon.
This bad stretch of basketball has shined the spotlight directly on Darvin Ham. Ham's peculiar choices with the starting lineup and the rotation look much worse when the Lakers are losing games. It is safe to say that Ham's seat is getting warm, with many fans thinking he is the reason for this meltdown.
Ham himself would blame the team's health. To be fair, the Lakers have dealt with an unusual string of injuries to the team's role players this season but not enough to warrant a sub-.500 record. These injuries are a huge deal to Ham, though, as evident by his ludicrous post-game comment from Wednesday night.
Darvin Ham has clearly lost the plot as Lakers' struggles continue
Look, all of us make excuses for the mistakes that we make in our every day lives. It is never our own fault when there is a close call while driving and arguments with significant others rarely end in "I was completely wrong, you were right". But this is next level coping as Ham is outright lying to himself and the media.
The Lakers' injuries were a bigger deal than the Heat missing their best player? Really? With a straight face, Ham is trying to say that the Lakers being without D'Angelo Russell, Rui Hachimura, and Gabe Vincent was a bigger deal than Miami being without Butler.
The pure irony in that quote is impossible to ignore considering Ham benched Russell, hardly gives Hachimura consistent minutes when other players are healthy, and Vincent has played only five games and hasn't even been good.
What makes LA's 17-18 record inexcusable is the fact that Ham has gotten healthy play out of Anthony Davis and LeBron James. Outside of a handful of missed games that looked like scheduled off days, AD and LeBron have been available this season. Yet still, the Lakers have a losing record.
If LeBron or AD were dealing with an injury like they did in one of the previous seasons then Ham probably wouldn't be sharing this sentiment. He wouldn't be sitting there and acting like missing three role players is bigger than missing one of the greatest players of all time. He would be blaming all of the Lakers' struggles on LeBron being out, because of course that would be the reason why.
Ham needs to stop playing the health card and take a look in the mirror to discover what the real problem is. It is the head coach's job to manage these injuries and at least keep a title-contending team afloat instead of allowing it to sink in the middle of the season.
Do injuries play a part? Absolutely. But there are no excuses for the Lakers playing this poorly. For that, Darvin Ham is the one to blame.