Lakers Weigh Options: Darvin Ham and Adrian Griffin for Head Coach

The Search for a New Head Coach: Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers are currently in the process of conducting interviews to find a suitable replacement for their former head coach, Frank Vogel. As the team looks to make a significant hire, top assistant coaches such as Darvin Ham from the Milwaukee Bucks and Adrian Griffin from the Toronto Raptors have emerged as potential candidates.

The Potential of Darvin Ham

Darvin Ham, the highly sought-after assistant coach of the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks, has caught the attention of the LA Lakers. Ham’s coaching prowess and his instrumental role in the Bucks’ success make him an appealing candidate. However, Ham’s journey to coaching was preceded by an impressive basketball career.

During his collegiate days at Texas Tech, Ham became famous for a viral dunk in the 1996 March Madness tournament. His thunderous dunk against North Carolina shattered the backboard, leaving a lasting impression on fans and scouts alike. Eventually, Ham went on to lead Texas Tech to their first Sweet 16 appearance, showcasing his ability to make an impact on the court.

Despite going undrafted, Ham refused to let his dreams fade away. He joined the Denver Nuggets in 1996 and played as a swingman for six different teams during his professional career. Although his statistics were modest, with an average of 2.7 points per game, Ham’s determination and work ethic remained unwavering.

Following his retirement from playing, Ham transitioned to coaching and ventured into the NBA G-League as the head coach of the New Mexico Thunderbirds. His commitment and dedication didn’t go unnoticed, and in 2011, Ham joined the Lakers as an assistant coach under Mike Brown. Later, when Mike Budenholzer took over as the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks, he brought Ham on board as an assistant coach.

In 2018, Ham followed Budenholzer to the Milwaukee Bucks with the goal of helping Giannis Antetokounmpo reach new heights. The collaboration bore fruit as the Bucks clinched the 2021 NBA championship. Despite receiving offers from collegiate teams, Ham decided to stay with the Bucks for another season in pursuit of consecutive titles. His success has not gone unnoticed, as he finds himself in contention for head coaching positions with not only the Lakers but also the Sacramento Kings and Charlotte Hornets.

The Nick Nurse Coaching Tree: Adrian Griffin

Another assistant coach receiving recognition is Adrian Griffin, who is part of the esteemed Nick Nurse coaching tree. Griffin, a former standout from Seton Hall, started his professional basketball career in the defunct USBL and CBA, where he showcased his skills and even won a CBA championship.

In 1999, Griffin finally got his opportunity in the NBA when he joined the Boston Celtics. Over the next 10 seasons, he played for multiple teams, with his most notable stint being with the Dallas Mavericks, where he started 127 games in the early 2000s.

After retiring as a player, Griffin transitioned into coaching and joined Scott Skiles’ coaching staff with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2008. He then spent five seasons as an assistant coach under Tom Thibodeau during his tenure with the Chicago Bulls. Griffin’s commitment to coaching led him to be an assistant with the Orlando Magic and the Oklahoma City Thunder before he ultimately joined Nick Nurse’s coaching staff with the Toronto Raptors in 2018.

In 2019, the Raptors achieved NBA glory, winning the championship, and Griffin played an instrumental role as an assistant coach. Following the team’s success, Griffin received interest from other teams seeking to replicate the Raptors’ offensive philosophy and Nurse’s effective player relations. Notably, the Minnesota Timberwolves hired one of Nurse’s assistants, Chris Finch, as their head coach.

Griffin, being a disciple of Nurse’s coaching philosophy, has now emerged as a potential candidate for the head coaching position with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Possibility of Doc Rivers Returning to Los Angeles

While the Lakers explore various options, Doc Rivers remains a prominent figure on their shortlist of potential candidates. Rivers currently serves as the head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, though his team is facing a 0-2 deficit in the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Miami Heat.

Rivers has previous experience coaching in Los Angeles, having been the head coach of the LA Clippers. During his tenure, the Clippers faced the infamous “Clippers Curse,” struggling to progress beyond the semifinals or even reach the Western Conference finals.

Despite the challenges, Rivers has proven himself as a championship-winning coach. In 2008, he led the Boston Celtics to an NBA title. Now, with the opportunity to coach LeBron James and the Lakers, Rivers can strive for another championship. However, he must also consider the potential of remaining in Philadelphia, where he can guide Joel Embiid and the 76ers to ultimate success.


The search for a new head coach by the Los Angeles Lakers has led them to consider top assistant coaches such as Darvin Ham and Adrian Griffin. With their respective credentials and experience, both Ham and Griffin have emerged as strong candidates for the position. While the Lakers weigh their options, the possibility of Doc Rivers returning to Los Angeles adds another intriguing storyline to this coaching hunt. As the decision draws near, the Lakers must carefully evaluate the potential of each candidate to find the right leader who can guide the team to future success.


1. What qualifications should the next Lakers head coach possess?

The next Lakers head coach should have a proven track record in coaching, preferably with experience in leading teams to championships. It is crucial for the coach to have excellent player relations and the ability to maximize the potential of star players like LeBron James.

2. What impact can Darvin Ham bring to the Lakers?

Darvin Ham’s coaching experience with the Milwaukee Bucks, especially in their championship-winning season, showcases his ability to contribute to a team’s success. His extensive knowledge of the game and dedication to player development can greatly benefit the Lakers.

3. How does Adrian Griffin’s coaching background make him a strong candidate?

Adrian Griffin’s time under Nick Nurse’s coaching staff, coupled with his championship-winning experience with the Toronto Raptors, demonstrates his ability to thrive in high-pressure situations. His understanding of modern offensive strategies and player development could bring a fresh perspective to the Lakers.

4. Could Doc Rivers lead the Lakers to another championship?

Given Doc Rivers’ championship-winning credentials and experience coaching superstar players, he has the potential to guide the Lakers to another championship. His ability to connect with players and his vast coaching knowledge make him an attractive option for the team.

5. When can the Lakers expect to announce their new head coach?

As the coaching search continues, it is challenging to predict an exact timeline for the Lakers’ announcement. However, they are likely to make a decision before the start of the upcoming NBA season to ensure a smooth transition and team preparation.

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Doug I. Jones

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