D'Angelo Russell Believes Dennis Schroder Was The Reason He Couldn't Connect With Darvin Ham - Sport News

D’Angelo Russell Believes Dennis Schroder Was The Reason He Couldn’t Connect With Darvin Ham

In a chat with ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell revealed some telling details on his relationship with Darvin Ham. Russell says that as much as tried to connect with the Lakers coach, their relationship was impeded by the presence of Dennis Schroder, who already had prior history with the former Hawks assistant coach.

Darvin Ham Defends D'Angelo Russell Against Haters Who Didn't Want Him Back  On Lakers - Fadeaway World

“His relationship with Darvin is the reason I couldn’t have a relationship with Darvin,” Russell said. “When I was struggling, I would’ve been able to come to the coach and say, ‘Bro, this is what we should do. Like, I can help you.’ Instead, there was no dialogue. I just accepted it. And we got swept and I’m here and he’s not. And I like our chances.”

Schroder was often the go-to guy down the stretch and Ham seemed to trust him more than Russell or any other point guard on the roster. While D’Angelo was often relegated to the sidelines, he watched in frustration as Ham showed favoritism to the guys he had pre-established history with.

But after the Lakers got swept, and Schoder signed with the Raptors in the offseason, it finally left the door open for D’Angelo to establish a real connection with his coach. Initially, the results were pretty rough with Russell experiencing a mighty shooting slump.

Lately, however, he’s come into his own and it’s powered the Lakers through an impressive stretch. In 61 games this season, Russell is averaging 18.0 points, 6.2 assists, and 3.0 rebounds per game on 47.1% shooting. He’s up.to 31.9 minutes per game right now and will head into the playoffs as the team’s third-leading player.

But with how well things are going now, questions are being asked about why Ham didn’t consider giving Russell a bigger role sooner. Instead, he wasted time depending on guys like Schroder and Taurean Prince to fill a role they could never deliver.

Darvin Ham On The Hot Seat?

The Lakers brought in Ham in the aftermath of Frank Vogel’s firing. In the grips of the Russell Westbrook saga, Darvin tried his best to spark some life into the team but he was unable to make things work with Westbrook and he was traded in a dramatic fashion not too long after.

After finishing 7th in the West last season, the Lakers were able to make a shocking run and Ham earned himself some breathing room with his job security. But once they lost to the Nuggets, and followed it up with moves in the offseason, the pressure began to build on Darvin to bring out the most of this group.

Instead of getting better, however, it’s been more mediocrity for the Lakers this season. Even with their core in good health for most of the year, the Purple and Gold rank just 9th in the West with a 36-30 record overall.

Destined for the play-in yet again, the Lakers are not where they hoped to be this season and Darvin Ham has been getting some heat for his role in the underachieing season. If he cannot keep his bias in check, and give each player a fair and honest chance, it will continue to be to the detriment of the team.

Hopefully, now that Russell is part of the equation, Ham will never underestimate his impact again and the Lakers can move forward with some more certainties about their lineup.

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