Darvin Ham still won't take responsibility as Lakers keep proving him wrong

Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Lakers are starting to find a rhythm as the 2024 NBA Playoffs approach. After beating the Milwaukee Bucks without LeBron James on Tuesday night the team completed the second leg of a road-back-to-back, defeating the Memphis Grizzlies without Anthony Davis on Wednesday night.

The star of the show on Wednesday night was none other than Rui Hachimura, who also torched the Grizzlies in last year's playoffs. Hachimura led the Lakers with 32 points on 11-14 shooting while draining 7-8 three-point shots.

Hachimura has been an extremely positive presence since joining the starting lineup. Head coach Darvin Ham giving Hachimura more playing time was truly the turning point of the season, and has proven that this should have been the approach all season long for the purple and gold.

Despite this being obviously apparent, Ham still does not have the gusto to admit he was wrong about giving Taurean Prince such a big role for most of the season. Ham was asked about if he wishes he went to this lineup sooner and he, of course, danced around the question and blamed injuries.

Lakers' head coach Darvin Ham still won't admit fault despite Rui Hachimura proving him wrong

There has been a clear divide between Hachimura getting ample playing time and not having a big enough role this season. When Hachimura has played the Lakers have been great. When he hasn't, they have been bad. It really is not much more complex than that.

The Lakers are 20-10 in the 30 games that Hachimura has started this season, meaning that the team is 21-22 in games that Hachimura did not start. Los Angeles has had the winning percentage of a top-four seed while Hachimura starts and the winning percentage of a non-playoff team when he doesn't.

Ham blames injuries and sure, there was a time where Hachimura missed some games due to injury. This leaves out the fact that Hachimura has played 29 games this season off the bench. Prior to this week's back-to-back, Hachimura still had more games coming off the bench than starting.

Regardless of how much Ham wants to spin it, there was no reason to start Prince for 49 games and give him as many minutes as he was giving him. The proof was in the pudding all season long but because of his existing connection to Prince, Ham just kept trotting him out there.

In a stat that is even more damning than the Hachimura stat, the Lakers are 22-4 this season when Prince plays 24:30 minutes or fewer. Los Angeles has a winning percentage of .846 when Prince plays less than half the game! That is an 82-game pace of 69-13! On the flip side, Los Angeles is 19-28 when he plays more than 24:30 minutes.

Yeah, Darvin Ham, you were wrong. Just own up to it.