Analyzing the Top Candidates for the Lakers’ Head Coach Position: Darvin Ham, Terry Stotts, or Kenny Atkinson?

The Lakers’ Search for a New Head Coach: Finalists Revealed

The Los Angeles Lakers have been scrambling to find a new head coach, and it seems that they have narrowed down their options to three candidates: Darvin Ham, Terry Stotts, and Kenny Atkinson. This decision has put an end to the speculation surrounding Doc Rivers, who was rumored to be in contention for the position. While Rivers may not be in the running for the Lakers gig, there is still a possibility that he could leave his current role as head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers. However, if he stays, he will have the opportunity to lead a team consisting of Joel Embiid and James Harden for a full season.

The Need for a Fresh Start

The Lakers are searching for a replacement for former head coach Frank Vogel, who faced criticism for the team’s failure to qualify for the postseason last year. If the Lakers want to follow the trend of hiring recycled ex-head coaches, they may choose to appoint someone like Stotts or Atkinson, both former NBA coaches. However, if the team is looking to give a black assistant coach an opportunity to shine, they may opt for Ham as their next head coach.

There has been a humorous remark within NBA Twitter that the final round of interviews is merely LeBron James deciding who will become his next “puppet” head coach. So the question arises: will LeBron choose Ham, Stotts, or Atkinson?

Gambling on Ham: A Rising Star in the Making

The Boston Celtics took a bold risk when they appointed Ime Udoka as their head coach. This move paid off as Udoka and the Celtics have emerged as one of the best defensive teams in the NBA this season. Currently tied 1-1 with the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, Udoka is just three wins away from a trip to the NBA Finals. The Lakers may consider following a similar path by hiring a promising assistant coach like Ham.

Considered as one of the top assistant coaches in the NBA, Ham’s time to become a head coach is approaching. Winning a championship with the Milwaukee Bucks as an assistant coach under Mike Budenholzer has undoubtedly strengthened his resume. What sets Ham apart from the other candidates is his experience as a former NBA player. This factor may resonate well with LeBron James, who values the perspective of someone who has battled on the hardwood. The situation mirrors the Cleveland Cavaliers’ decision to replace David Blatt with Ty Lue, who had retired just a few seasons earlier before becoming the Cavs’ rookie head coach. Lue ultimately led the Cavaliers to their championship victory, ending Cleveland’s drought.

The Recycle Option: Stotts or Atkinson?

Terry Stotts has a proven track record with the Portland Trail Blazers, securing eight consecutive playoff appearances during his tenure. Despite the lack of aggressive moves from the front office to acquire top-notch free agents for Damian Lillard, Stotts managed to keep the team competitive. His experience in the Western Conference could make him an attractive option for the Lakers.

Stotts also had successful stints as the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks, accumulating over a decade of head coaching experience and a career record of 517-486. His familiarity with the Western Conference dynamics could provide the Lakers with a seasoned leader.

Kenny Atkinson, on the other hand, spent several seasons as the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, where he faced a challenging record of 118-190 by the end of the 2010s. Currently serving as an assistant coach under Steve Kerr with the Golden State Warriors, Atkinson is still in contention for the 2022 NBA championship as part of the final four teams.

It’s worth noting that the Warriors’ coaching staff has already been impacted by the Sacramento Kings’ hiring of assistant coach Mike Brown. If the Lakers decide to hire Atkinson, they will bring in someone who is well-versed in the Pacific Division.


The Los Angeles Lakers find themselves at a critical juncture as they search for their next head coach. With the final three candidates: Darvin Ham, Terry Stotts, and Kenny Atkinson, the Lakers have an important decision to make. Will they opt for a rising star like Ham, a seasoned veteran like Stotts, or someone familiar with the Pacific Division like Atkinson?


1. How long was Frank Vogel the head coach of the Lakers?

Frank Vogel served as the head coach of the Lakers for a total of three seasons, from the 2019-2020 season to the 2021-2022 season.

2. Are there any other candidates besides Ham, Stotts, and Atkinson?

As of now, these are the final three candidates known to be in consideration for the head coaching position with the Lakers. However, it’s always possible for new candidates to emerge during the selection process.

3. What is LeBron James’ role in the selection process?

While LeBron James is a key player in the Lakers organization, it’s important to note that the decision ultimately rests with the team’s management and ownership. While his input may hold weight, the final decision will likely be a collective one.

4. Has Darvin Ham ever been a head coach before?

No, Darvin Ham has not yet held a head coaching position in the NBA. However, he has garnered significant experience and accolades as an assistant coach, including winning a championship with the Milwaukee Bucks.

5. When can we expect the Lakers to make their final decision?

There is no definitive timeline for the Lakers to announce their new head coach. The team will likely take the time needed to thoroughly evaluate their options and make a well-informed decision that aligns with their long-term goals.

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Doug I. Jones

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