“It’s Not a Popularity Contest”: Darvin Ham Doesn’t Hold Back on Christian Wood’s Controversial Tweet

Published 01/30/2024, 11:37 PM EST

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USA Today via Reuters

Darvin Ham seems to have had enough of petty antics from his players. After receiving yet another defeat on the road from the Atlanta Hawks, the Lakers coach addressed the controversial tweet of Christian Wood. Ahead of the Hawks game, Ham had announced the starting five, and much to the surprise of everyone, Jaxson Hayes was selected to take Anthony Davis‘ place.

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Moments later, Wood posted a tweet with just one word: “Lol.” Talking about the whole incident post-game, Ham said, “It’s not a popularity contest. We are looking to mix and match our players that will be most effective in getting us a win.”

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Quite funny, considering the mix and match did not really work in his favor yet again. Ham further elaborated on his choice to go with a completely new lineup – Austin Reaves, LeBron James, Taurean Prince, D’Angelo Russell, and Hayes. Darvin wanted to keep Wood in the usual role, primarily to keep the second unit in one piece.

With regards to Hayes, Ham said that he wanted to allow him to showcase the same energy he played vs the Rockets. Jax had nine points and two rebounds in 14 minutes of game time. Tonight, though, he finished with six points and rebounds, each with an assist in 24 minutes. Wood, for his part, had just a slightly better score in 22 minutes – nine points, two assists, and eight rebounds.

Either way, the “balance” Ham mentioned they are trying to achieve in the lineups looks like a far-off dream now. After all, the constant shuffles in lineups are what’s getting on the nerves of the players.

The “deeper disconnect” in Lakers just seems to have taken a plunge

Earlier this month, The Athletic’s Shams Charania had reportedly talked about a “deepening disconnect” in the Lakers locker room. Ham has been wracking his brain to turn the tide in their favor. And in the process, he’s pulling and pushing players in and out of the lineups.

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“Near Impossible”: Darvin Ham Gives 1 Major Reason for Current Lakers Roster’s Constant Struggles in Practice

Ham had used the injury card as the reason for inconsistent lineups. Many players came forward to voice their disapproval of the same. Davis and Reaves subtly took a dig at their coach saying that their team was talented enough to win games despite injuries. And that using that as an excuse in itself is an inexcusable offense.

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Of course, this led to the rumor mill churning with Ham’s immediate resignation. But the man in question casually dismissed any such idea, saying that he was still on good terms with the “Boss Lady” and Pelinka. But the growing frustration between the players and coach begs the question of, ‘how long?’

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How long can Jeanie Buss and the Lakers GM continue to ignore the quiet internal conflicts as well as the loud outside noise? Or will the trade deadline be enough motivation for the LA team to make a comeback? Let us know your solutions to the rut the Purple & Gold finds themselves in!

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Written by:

Geisha Pulimoottil Don

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“Not only is there more to life than basketball, there’s a lot more to basketball than basketball” - Jackson had a simple philosophy when he was coaching the Lakers. He wanted everyone to succeed and grow in the service of something bigger than themselves. This is what struck me the most.
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Edited by:

Vishav

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