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Can Darvin Ham Do What Frank Vogel Couldn’t? Avoiding a Russell Westbrook Debacle Is Key to the Lakers’ Future, Claims Major NBA Analyst

Published 06/08/2022, 8:00 AM EDT

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After a season of blunders, the Los Angeles Lakers are looking to get back to the top. They started off by announcing their new head coach, Darvin Ham. However, their main problem remains in Russell Westbrook. During his unveiling as a coach, Ham made strict remarks about how he is looking to improve the team.

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And according to The Athletic’s Bill Oram, it is going to be a challenge for the purple and gold to see Russ fall in line with certain things.

While a return to one’s hometown generally goes well, it couldn’t have been worse for Brodie. Coming off an amazing season with the Washington Wizards, Westbrook was in the best place. Playing besides LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers were one of the favorites to win it all.


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However, the story went in the opposite direction. Russ struggled in his season with the Lakers averaging 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.1 assists per game. In addition, there was also his disconnect with ex-head coach, Frank Vogel.

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With Ham now in place, Oram feels the challenges presented to Russ are still the same. But it will come down to how Darvin Ham can extract the most out of Westbrook.

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Westbrook was under fire for the Lakers’ abysmal season this time. Failing to make the playoffs with his entry, he and Vogel became the main scapegoats. However, with a fresh start in front, Westbrook looked excited with Ham coming in as the new coach.

But Ham isn’t asking anything different from Westbrook. He said he needs to see the Lakers improve a lot defensively and off the ball, something Westbrook has struggled to do over the years. Hence, Oram had his doubts over how Ham will get Russ in line.


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He said: “The message is not that different from what I think other coaches have asked of Russell Westbrook. You know, play defense, be willing to really commit offensively when you don’t have the ball which is obviously going to be key when he’s on the floor with LeBron. It’s just going to be a matter of whether or not Russ feels a different connection with Darvin Ham than he felt with Frank Vogel.”

He continued saying, “At the same time, Darvin is asking Russ to do those that Russ has shown either he doesn’t want to or can’t do.” 


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The main message when this Lakers team was formed was sacrifice. And that is going to be the same theme this season. There’s no doubt Westbrook adjusted his game a lot. However, he is going to need to step up and do things that are most needed.

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While he may not be the best defender in his 15th season, Brodie needs to put in an effort to make stops. On the other hand, with the King on the floor, Russ will have to take a step back.

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After spending all but one season as the primary handler, it isn’t going to be an easy task for the former MVP. But through his NBA career, Russ has always been doubted and he has prospered.

Despite a mammoth task in front, it will be interesting to see how Ham can make the adjustments required for the Lakers to function as a unit once again. Do you think the Lakers will take another shot with Westbrook? Let us know your views in the comments below.



Anuj Talwalkar

2166 articles

Anuj Talwalkar is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He is a student studying at NM College in Mumbai, aspiring to pursue sports management to follow his love for sports. Anuj started following the NBA last year, and he loves to combine his passion for writing with his understanding of basketball.

Edited By: Veer Badani