It certainly is theoretically possible. After all, the club that plays LeBron James and Anthony Davis will likely have at least a .500 record, and the Lakers would love that .500 record right now.
In this writer’s opinion, the real blame through the Lakers’ rock-solid thus far should lie with vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka, who failed to pull the trigger in a deal to turn Russell Westbrook’s $47.1 million contract into a serious slate. Depth that can help maximize stars James and Davis. Westbrook has re-emerged in two games as a major power shift reserve (a position in which Hamm handled self-confidence, by the way), but commands about $40 million more than he’s worth on the open market.
With the Westbrook deal still on the Los Angeles books, that hampered what Pelinka could do over the summer in terms of building the rest of the team’s roster. Pelinka made some decent moves in this vein, but failed to find the kind of elite shooting and/or wing defense that could really allow James and Davis to fully grow. Some of the additions he’s made since trading him for Westbrook in 2021 have been pretty solid (Lonnie Walker IV and Juan Toscano-Anderson have been solid in limited minutes), and others have looked a bit rusty (Patrick Beverley has yet to find his consistent shot touch, But he was accustomed to his annoying self in defense), and still the others are so bad that they already find themselves on the sidelines of an important turn (Damian Jones, Kendrick Nunn).
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This writer believes that letting Hamm walk now, just months after joining the team, would be premature. The Lakers wouldn’t be particularly amazing without making a few moves. Hamm has given the club a fast-paced defensive identity that will ultimately lead to more wins than his current record suggests. There’s a lot the team can do with its tight haul, although it did enjoy a strong shooting night on Sunday, when Los Angeles converted 43.3% of its 30-three.
Pork shouldn’t be on the hot seat yet. Let’s see what the Lakers can do when Westbrook is off the list.
So what other NBA coaches could see their feet shine in the coming weeks and months?
Obviously suspended Ime Udoka is unlikely to coach the Boston Celtics again, so we can technically count on him. Doc Rivers seemed to be in trouble when the Philadelphia 76s got off to a slow start, but the team has now won three straight games with Joel Embiid nearing his level, so the chatter has subsided for now. With the Indiana Pacers looking fully committed to rebuilding, head coach Rick Carlisle will likely tire of the constant loss and opt for chaos – although he hasn’t yet, as the squad currently represents 3-5 respectable players. !
Of the three clubs with high post-season hopes that have had a surprisingly mediocre start (Miami Heat, Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers), this author could see the Clippers perhaps opting to switch from Tyronn Lue if the trend continues well into the season, But given Lue’s reputation as one of the best coaches in the league, he’s likely to survive. Clips can of course blame Kawhi Leonard’s long absence on the team’s shaky start.