The valuable lesson Darvin Ham should've learned in Lakers win over Hornets

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers have been struggling since winning the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament but they did not look like a team that is struggling on Thursday night. Los Angeles hosted the Charlotte Hornets and made quick work of the team, defeating a LaMelo Ball-less Hornets team 133-112.

This was a step in the right direction for the Lake Show but it should not be overly celebrated. Charlotte is a team that the Lakers should make quick work of, especially with Ball not even playing in the game. This one win is not enough to say that the purple and gold have fully turned the corner.

That being said, this win can be a launching point, especially if head coach Darvin Ham actually takes note of the lessons that he should have learned. Ham has been toying around with the lineup in recent weeks and has been making some mind-boggling decisions. On Thursday, though, he may have stumbled into something on accident.

Lakers win over Hornets proves that Rui Hachimura needs to start

Ham made another questionable decision in Thursday's game when he decided to give Rui Hachimura the start when it was announced that Cam Reddish would not be playing. This essentially put Hachimura at the two-guard position, and continued the trend of weird starting fives for LA.

Ham has demoted both D'Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves to the bench unit and it appears that it will stay that way for the time being. Even though it might not make a ton of sense from a position sense, Ham obviously prefers a starting lineup with three wings around LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Hachimura thrived in this game and while he might not be suitable as a two-guard, this proved that he probably should be getting the starting nod over someone in the starting five. Lakers fans have long pounded the table for Hachimura to get his chance in the starting five and with what Ham is doing, starting him is imperative.

If Ham is going to go down this route of starting three wings next to LeBron and AD then he needs one of those wings to actually be a threat offensively. Jarred Vanderbilt, Taurean Prince and Reddish are not offensive threats. It does not matter how promising they are on defense, it will hurt the Lakers when other teams don't have to respect three out of the five players as offensive threats.

Hachimura is an offensive threat. He is someone who can knock down shots as an off-ball shooter but he can even create his own look with his size and towering jumper. He is at least someone who other teams have to respect, and that has a ripple effect on the rest of the starting five.

Hachimura had a team-best +34 in Thursday night's game. The young forward scored 17 points on 7-12 shooting with four rebounds, an assist and a steal. It was a great game for Hachimura and he did not even have to make a three to do so.

Plus, it is not like Hachimura is an awful defender. Hachimura won't get hunted like Reaves or Russell will because his size still makes him a headache to go at. The team would not be losing that much defensively if they swapped out Prince for Hachimura in the starting five and would be gaining a ton offensively.

Will Ham make this adjustment? Probably not. He seems to be pretty stubborn and for whatever reason really has an affinity for Prince and Reddish. But if the Lakers are going to run this three-wing lineup, Hachimura starting will produce the best version of the team.

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