Darvin Ham’s Decision-Making: Exploring the Lakers’ Starting Lineup Dynamics

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham has faced scrutiny for his lineup decisions throughout the 2023-24 season. Despite being 46 games into the season, the Lakers have yet to stick with the same starting lineup for more than five consecutive games. One notable absence from the starting lineup has been Jarred Vanderbilt, who played a key role in the team’s success last season, particularly during their run to the Western Conference Finals.

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Darvin Ham

Vanderbilt, along with D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis, formed a formidable lineup after the trade deadline last season. They boasted a 12-7 record in both the regular season and playoffs, showcasing a strong net rating of 14.4 during regular-season games. Russell and Reaves provided offensive firepower, while Vanderbilt excelled defensively, especially on the perimeter.

However, Vanderbilt’s playing time was limited due to a heel injury, causing uncertainty about his role this season despite being back for 25 games. Many fans and analysts have questioned why the Lakers haven’t reverted to the successful lineup from last season.

Darvin Ham

Darvin Ham Acknowledged Vanderbilt’s Contributions

In response to queries about the lack of playing time for that lineup, Darvin Ham explained his rationale. He emphasized the durability and three-point shooting prowess of Taurean Prince, highlighting the importance of spacing and shooting around stars like LeBron and Davis. Ham acknowledged Vanderbilt’s contributions, particularly his recent performance on the offensive glass and defensive versatility, but indicated a preference for Prince’s attributes in the current lineup configuration.

While Ham didn’t rule out the possibility of revisiting the successful lineup from last season, he expressed satisfaction with Prince’s contributions. Despite statistical advantages favoring Vanderbilt’s inclusion, Ham seems content with the balance Prince brings to the team.

Darvin Ham
Darvin Ham

The NBA season is dynamic, with frequent changes in lineups and strategies. The Lakers may eventually return to the successful lineup from last season, but for now, they are focused on capitalizing on their recent momentum with Prince in the mix.

Austin Reaves, reflecting on the team’s upcoming road trip, believes that their recent performance against the Bulls has provided momentum as they prepare to face challenges away from home. Despite acknowledging missed opportunities during their homestand, Reaves expressed confidence in the team’s ability to carry their momentum into the road trip.

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