Lakers front office may force Darvin Ham's hand with big rotation tweak

Los Angeles Lakers v New Orleans Pelicans - Play-In Tournament
Los Angeles Lakers v New Orleans Pelicans - Play-In Tournament / Jonathan Bachman/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Lakers head into the first round of the NBA Playoffs with a massive challenge ahead. Just 11 months after being swept by the Denver Nuggets in last year's Western Conference Finals, the Lakers have the chance to end Denver's title-defense season in the first round.

The final series scoreline was not indicative of how closely the two teams played a year ago. The Lakers were in every single one of those games with Nikola Jokic even saying it was the toughest series the Nuggets played last year. Los Angeles may be the underdog, but it is not an insurmountable challenge to beat the Nuggets.

If the Lakers are going to pull off the upset, though, head coach Darvin Ham is going to need to up his game. Ham's coaching held the Lakers back during the regular season and there is no longer any wiggle room for bad rotations and poor coaching decisions.

If the Lakers want to go on a deep playoff run then the front office may need to step in and guide Ham's decision-making during the playoffs. It appears as if this is something that the front office may be considering, as there are reportedly rave reviews about Gabe Vincent, who had a great showing in the play-in against the New Orleans Pelicans (h/t Dave McMenamin and Kevin Pelton of ESPN)

"The Lakers outscored the Pelicans by 13 in the eight minutes Vincent played in the quarter. And, after the game, multiple members of the Lakers front office raved to ESPN about the backup guard’s impact."

Lakers front office may force Darvin Ham to play Gabe Vincent more

It is not hard to see why the front office got so excited over Vincent's play against the Pelicans and it is not an accident that front office sources directly spoke to ESPN about this. If those front office members are willing to tell the media about how impressive Vincent was, just imagine what is being told to Ham behind closed doors.

Vincent has not been a huge part of the rotation after coming back from injury but that may all change in the playoffs with the rotation shrinking. Because of his two-way impact, don't be surprised if Vincent plays over 20 minutes in each playoff game after averaging fewer than 20 minutes this season.

The minutes will have to come from somewhere, and will likely result in Spencer Dinwiddie getting axed and Taurean Prince getting less playing time. When it all boils down to it, though, it is clear that Vincent needs more playing time if the Lakers are going to be successful.

Vincent is the Lakers' secret weapon against Denver that the team did not have a year ago. With a better defensive guard, and fewer role players to worry about on the other bench, the dynamic of this series could shift drastically with Vincent getting more playing time.

Instead of these close games going in favor of the Nuggets every single time, Vincent could be the difference that results in the close games going in favor of the Lakers. The front ofice knows this and fans can only hope that Ham does as well.