Presented with great fanfare by Rob Pelinka, then applauded by the assembly, Darvin Ham bowed to the exercise of the press conference for the first time as a coach of the Lakers.
Nine years after his departure as an assistant to join Mike Budenholzer in Atlanta, and then follow him to Milwaukee with an NBA championship title at stake, the former winger therefore presented the outlines of his new project and his philosophy of Game.
“I believe it’s a 360 degree style of coaching”he replied. “The two parts of the field are connected. You hear about these offensive gurus, these defensive gurus, but both sides of the field influence each other. If you are able to defend very well, it will also be felt on your attack. Because you’re not going to face a defense in place. If you let the opponent score, your attack will suffer, because you will play a defense in place. You have to know how to be balanced, we talked about it a lot with coach Bud’”.
“Russell is one of the best players our league has ever seen”
He also stressed the importance of being competitive, united, and responsible “. His main missions will be to advance the collective by trying to integrate the “role players” as well as possible into the Westbrook-James-Davis trio from which he will also have to make the most of.
Main question mark to date, Russell Westbrook will indeed be an integral part of the project of Darvin Ham, who took the opportunity to recall the CV of his leader with controversial status.
“Make no mistake about it. Russell is one of the best players our league has ever seen.”he launched. “There’s still a ton of it under the hood. I don’t know why people tend to devalue it. I will approach it as with all the players I have met. We are going to talk about our running habits, with the ball, without the ball. And the team, the rhythm of the team, and trying to establish a rhythm, between LeBron, Russ, AD, and sharing the load, in defense and in attack. It is in defense that you will see us make our greatest progress. We have to go all out in defence, otherwise we won’t have a chance, the attack won’t even matter”.
“We had great conversations with Russell, and the main word that came out of it was sacrifice”
Present in the room, Russell Westbrook religiously listened to his coach, who was also invited to talk about his first exchanges with his All-Star leader.
Darvin Ham then insisted on the importance of the notion of sacrifice which should also be one of his watchwords next season, for Russell Westbrook as for the rest of the team.
“We had great conversations with Russell, and the main word that came out of that was sacrifice. We’re going to sacrifice ourselves, no matter what we have to do. And it’s not just about Russ, it’s also about the sacrifices that LeBron and AD will have to make and even the last name on our roster, always keeping in mind that it all starts with defense. As for his role, I expect him to be as tenacious and energetic a player as he has been throughout his career.