Westbrook on hand as Lakers’ Ham is introduced

NBA

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Darvin Ham was launched because the Los Angeles Lakers‘ new coach Monday, with level guard Russell Westbrook standing off to the facet in a public present of help for the hiring.

And Ham reciprocated that help proper again to Westbrook, after a tumultuous first season in Los Angeles for the previous league MVP.

“Do not get it tousled, Russell Westbrook is without doubt one of the finest gamers our league has ever seen and there is nonetheless a ton left within the tank,” Ham mentioned. “I do not know why folks are inclined to attempt to write him off.”

After buying and selling for Westbrook on the day of the 2021 NBA draft, Los Angeles skilled some of the disappointing seasons in franchise historical past. The Lakers went from being a preseason favourite to win the championship based mostly on Las Vegas betting odds to lacking the playoffs utterly, ending No. 11 within the Western Convention with a 33-49 document.

Lakers vp of basketball operations and common supervisor Rob Pelinka joined Ham for the event and expressed optimism within the 48-year-old Ham changing into the twenty eighth head coach within the staff’s existence.

“That is an extremely vibrant and promising day in Laker historical past,” Pelinka mentioned.

After an eight-year NBA taking part in profession and a stint teaching and dealing within the entrance workplace within the NBA developmental league, Ham received his NBA teaching begin in Los Angeles as an assistant on Mike Brown’s workers in 2012-13.

“The truth that I received my begin as a coach right here, this place will all the time be particular for me,” Ham mentioned. “It is like a homecoming for me, in all seriousness.”

After Los Angeles, Ham spent practically a decade on Mike Budenholzer‘s workers with the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks, successful a championship in 2021.

“As unhappy as it’s for me to be leaving Coach Bud, generally you bought to stroll that stroll by yourself,” Ham mentioned, getting choked up as he spoke about his former boss. “We went from colleagues, to buddies, to brothers whereas all of the whereas making historical past.”

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