Lakers have a new coach, same old problem

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - JANUARY 08: Acting head coach Darvin Ham of the Milwaukee Bucks reacts during the second half of the game against the Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center on January 08, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Darvin Ham, a longtime assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks, will step into the spotlight as the next Lakers coach. (Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images)

Just when you think the Lakers couldn’t have doubled down on the worst trade in history, they did just that by hiring Darvin Ham as head coach. I can’t believe I just typed that the Lakers hired Darvin Ham as head coach.

Why exactly? I really want to know why they hired Ham. Nice guy? Check. Good communicator? Check. NBA experience as a player and coach? Check. What I can’t find is his expertise with an offensive scheme or defensive one. I can’t find his history of leading a group to the playoffs and developing a championship culture.

This hire to me has a recurring smell to it. This is a guy that will be the ultimate yes man to the front office and LeBron James. There really is no other reason. Last year I said the Russell Westbrook trade would be the worst ever, it was and is. This will be the worst head coaching hiring ever. Mark my words!

Geno Apicella



One can only hope that Darvin Ham will actually have something to say about the makeup of the Lakers, and not simply be added pork. Most fans will agree the franchise has had enough of that in recent vintage.

Fred Wallin

Westlake Village


All the Lakers’ maneuvering has left the team with aging and surrogate general manager LeBron James, aging and without-a-fit Russell Westbrook, and always injured Anthony Davis. And not a first-rounder to rebuild the team till 2027 and 2029.

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Welcome to purgatory Darvin Ham. Let’s see if you can last long enough to salvage Jerry Buss’ legacy, which his children have now completely run into the ground.

Bob Goldstone

Corona del Mar


In his column “Take a timeout, Lakers. Now run the right play,” Plaschke dismisses Darvin Ham because “he’s never been an NBA head coach.” Pat Riley had never been an NBA head coach either, when the Lakers hired him, and that worked out pretty well.

Vaughn Hardenberg



I can’t believe Bill Plaschke again suggested that the Lakers ought to hire Doc Rivers as head coach. It is well known that the Lakers’ roster is a hot mess, and Rivers would be the absolute worst option for coach. Granted, Rivers won a title with the Celtics, but he managed to get only one despite having the league’s most talented team. As head coach of the Clippers, he allowed the players to adopt the “Lob City” moniker, as they celebrated every dunk like kids on a playground rather than focusing on playing solid basketball. Consequently, the Rivers-led Clippers collapsed in the playoffs. Rivers’ tenure in Philadelphia hasn’t been any better.

Brian Gura

Redondo Beach


Doc Rivers has coached the most teams blowing 3-1 playoff series leads in NBA history. Since the Lakers as currently constituted are unlikely to ever lead a playoff series 3-1, Lakers management needn’t worry about that in deciding whether to hire him.

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Gerry Swider

Sherman Oaks


Bill Plaschke’s love affair with Doc Rivers knows no bounds. Was Plaschke asleep in 2015 when Rivers did nothing with a Clippers team that had Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan as starters and the best sixth man in basketball that year, Jamal Crawford? That team never made it past the second round in the playoffs nor did any other Rivers coached Clippers team. Rivers failed again this year with the highly regarded 76ers. Frankly, he is overrated.

Gary H. Miller


Life before hoops

Bill Plaschke’s article about “Kerr marks violence in more than silence,” is undoubtedly the most important and best “sports article” ever written in recent years.

Harry Shragg



Thumbs up to Steve Kerr for putting life (and sadly death) before basketball. I hope his remarks were loud enough to be heard in D.C.

Russell Morgan


Stadium dilemma

Bill Shaikin’s coverage in The Times of the stadium property sale situation has been extensive and excellent, but it still confuses me. If the Angels play in Los Angeles, as Arte Moreno says they do, why is Anaheim involved in so much controversy?

Richard Turnage


Twice as nice

Dodgers sweeping the Diamondbacks in L.A.: good.

Dodgers pounding out 24 hits in Arizona: better.

Dodgers beating Madison Bumgarner twice in a row: priceless.

Ken Blake


More Bananas

In response to reader Mark Sherwin’s letter regarding the Savannah Bananas innovations to keep fans interested as a mockery of the game of baseball.

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Quite obviously Mr. Sherwin has never been to a minor league game or heard of Bill Veeck. Because how could they disrupt the sacrosanct traditions of baseball such as head hunting, pine-tarring, gambling and trash can lid beating to steal signs with mere mirth and joyous good fun?

I want to thank David Wharton for a fantastic job and riveting look at “Banana Ball,” as I thoroughly enjoyed it. I promptly sent it to everyone here in the Class A Salem Red Sox organization with the hopes of them scheduling the Bananas!

Dan Johnson

Salem, Va.

Marshall rule

For those who wonder why people get so invested in sports, I’d direct them to Bill Plaschke’s excellent article about the Marshall High softball team. The scoreboard is only the front door to a world of drama, characters, triumph and a million and one life lessons. Thanks, Bill, and congrats on a superb season to the winners from Marshall High School.

Mark Cohen

Huntington Beach


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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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