Darvin Ham's postgame is one-two punch of encouraging and braindead

Lakers head coach Darvin Ham cannot wait to unleash his adjustments.
Los Angeles Lakers, Darvin Ham
Los Angeles Lakers, Darvin Ham / Jonathan Bachman/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Lakers made a hard charge into the playoffs. LeBron James was fantastic down the stretch, and his team kept racking up victories, including over the Pelicans in the play-in to secure the seventh seed. It set up a matchup with the defending champion Nuggets, which has been the Lakers' Achilles heel.

King James and his team have not defeated Denver since Dec. 16, 2022, and have not won in the Mile High City over the last two seasons. They have lost nine straight meetings after their Game 1 defeat, and it feels like LA is no closer to solving the puzzle that is Nikola Jokic.

Head coach Darvin Ham made some interesting comments after the series-opening loss, including saying he had more adjustments to throw at the Joker, but didn’t want to play all his cards. Jokic had 32 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists as Denver outscored the Lakers by 14 in his 39 minutes on the floor. Ham’s comments are encouraging, but also completely baffling.

Positive to hear the Lakers still have things to throw at Nikola Jokic

The Joker is arguably the best player on the planet right now. He led the Nuggets to the championship last season and is a 6’11 big man with every skill. Jokic is unstoppable. Teams just hope they can slow him down.

The Lakers had no answers in last year’s sweep in the Western Conference Finals, and nothing they tried this season worked. It is positive to hear that Darvin Ham still has adjustments to make, but what is he waiting for?

Darvin Ham must make all his adjustments in Game 2

Forget that the winner of Game 1 takes the series 76.6 percent of the time as of 2018. Never mind that the Lakers had a shot to win in Denver for the first time in years. Ham was saving adjustments for Game 2. Now is not the time to wait and see if you can flip the series after already trailing.

The Lakers need a win over the Nuggets in the worst way. Dropping nine straight to the defending champions is bad enough. Ham saving adjustments made it worse. How long is he going to wait? If LA falls behind 2-0, they will almost certainly lose the series, so it is now or never for those adjustments.

Ham fell into a fallacy of slowing down elite talent. No matter the adjustment, Nikola Jokic will have a counter. The all-time greats always do. The Lakers must mix up their coverages and try to keep the Joker guessing on what is coming next. They cannot expect one adjustment will be enough. Ham should throw everything at him and try to keep Jokic on his toes. Even that may not work, but it gives the Lakers a better chance than just letting the MVP favorite have his way.

The Los Angeles Lakers must-win Game 2 if they have any shot at taking this series. All signs point to another Nuggets victory, but stay tuned to see if coach Ham’s adjustments pay off.