Darvin Ham's stubbornness may finally get him fired by Lakers

New intel reveals personnel around the league are stunned with Ham's decision-making.
Darvin Ham, Los Angeles Lakers
Darvin Ham, Los Angeles Lakers / Cole Burston/GettyImages

No one could have predicted the Los Angeles Lakers' improbable run to the Western Conference Finals in 2023. After starting the season 2-10, many counted them out. An NBA team had not begun a season with a record that bad and finished above .500 since the mid-2000s.

But by the end of the season, they had proven everyone wrong and finished with a 43-39 record, securing the seven seed in the West playoffs. Of course, the rest is history. The Lakers upset the Grizzlies in round one before taking down the defending champion Warriors in the second round, falling to the eventual 2023 champs in the West Finals.

It was LA's moves at the trade deadline that played a huge part in them finishing the year strong and locking up a playoff spot. Relying heavily upon their six best players in Anthony Davis, LeBron James, D'Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, Jarred Vanderbilt and Rui Hachimura was crucial to their success.

This season, what had been so surprising was how long Head Coach Darvin Ham waited until going back to playing his best players from last season. Experimenting with various starting lineups all throughout the first half of the year played a part in the Lakers losing more games than many anticipated.

Darvin Ham's lineup decisions created inconsistencies for Lakers

One Eastern Conference scout was reportedly just as surprised as everyone else that Ham took so long to make this adjustment. "We never honestly thought [Ham] would stick with [not playing last year’s core together] all year," they said. “We were definitely happy he waited as long as he did and until after we played both our games against him.”

Which team this scout is employed by does not really matter. But we can rule out Charlotte, Detroit, Washington, Milwaukee, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Indiana, Brooklyn, Toronto and Cleveland, since LA still had at least one game remaining against each of these teams by the time Ham implemented Hachimura in the starting lineup on February 3 against the Knicks.

It is certainly telling that people within other organizations felt the same way a lot of outside analysts and even fans felt about Darvin Ham's decision to avoid heavily utilizing the core group of players that got the Lakers to the Western Conference Finals last season. Going back to those players has clearly changed the game for LA over the last two months.

Many have been dissatisfied with Ham's decision-making during his tenure as Head Coach, but this could be the final straw. He was determined to not be predictable to start the season in trying new lineups and tinkering with the pieces available to him, but that strategy ultimately dragged out too long. This development could lead to his time with the organization being over at the end of this season.