Darvin Ham is the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. The team opted to fire Frank Vogel on the heels of a disappointing 2021-22 campaign, and after a lengthy search, Los Angeles decided that the longtime Mike Budenholzer assistant would be the best option to take over for a team with perpetual title-or-bust expectations.
Ham, who spent more than a decade playing professionally, was one of the more highly-respected assistant coaches in the league and has long been viewed as someone who paid his dues and deserved to get a head coaching gig for the first time. That sentiment was shared by Charles Barkley during a recent appearance on The Dan Patrick Show, but despite that, he’s not exactly optimistic that he’ll lead L.A. to glory during the 2022-23 campaign.
“Well, I’m glad Darvin got an opportunity, cause he’s paid his dues, he’s a nice guy, we’ll have to see what kind of coach he is,” Barkley said around the 5:16 mark of the above video. “But listen, if one of your coaches is close to the same age as your players, your team’s not gonna be any good, anyway. The Lakers, they got a serious dilemma on their hands. Their best player’s gonna be 40, Anthony Davis has never been healthy. Obviously, Russ is gonna be there one more year. So, what’s really bad about the situation — next year is gonna be the same as this year, and then LeBron’s just gonna be a year older, and then they’ll have Russ off the books.”
Barkley then returned to Davis, noting that he said before last season that he (and, more specifically, his ability to take some of the load off of James’ shoulders) is the key to the team succeeding and that “if he’s one of the top-5 players in the NBA, the Lakers can compete.”
Last season, Los Angeles finished 33-49 and missed the play-in tournament. It marked the seventh time in the last nine seasons that the team failed to make the postseason.