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Monday, April 15, 2024

Lakers Didn't Start Rui Hachimura Over Taurean Prince As The Coaching Staff Didn't Trust Him

The decision to start Taurean Prince over Rui Hachimura for the Los Angeles Lakers stemmed from a combination of factors, including Hachimura’s reluctance to embrace specific defensive role-player duties and Prince’s consistency and professionalism on and off the court.

“But once Hachimura arrived in training camp, he didn’t embrace the role-player duties the coaching staff wanted from him — being fully engaged defensively, boxing out hard, making the extra pass. Prince, on the other hand, earned the trust of the coaching staff with his professionalism and consistency.”

“The decision to start Prince was far from a unanimous one inside the organization. The coaching staff believed Hachimura’s score-first mentality, which had not evolved enough in training camp in their eyes, made him a better fit off the bench.

“Prince, meanwhile, profiled as the low-usage, 3-and-D player the starting lineup needed to space the floor and slot onto elite wing scorers.”

According to reports, Hachimura did not fully embrace the role-player responsibilities that the coaching staff desired from him during training camp. This included expectations such as being fully engaged defensively, boxing out hard, and making the extra pass. On the other hand, Prince earned the trust of the coaching staff with his professionalism and consistency in meeting these demands.

While the coaching staff acknowledged Hachimura’s score-first mentality, they believed that it had not evolved enough during training camp to make him a suitable fit for the starting lineup. In contrast, Prince was seen as a better fit due to his profile as a low-usage, 3-and-D player who could provide floor spacing and defend elite wing scorers effectively.

In addition to Rui Hachimura’s reluctance to embrace specific role-player duties, reports also suggested that the preference for Taurean Prince in the Lakers’ starting lineup was influenced by Coach Darvin Ham’s trust in players with whom he had previously worked.

Prince’s contributions to the Lakers have been notable, particularly in terms of his floor-spacing ability. He has started in 49 out of 66 games played during the 2023-24 regular season and is averaging 9.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game. His efficient shooting from beyond the arc, connecting on 38.7 percent of his attempts on 4.8 tries per contest, has been a valuable asset for the team.

On the other hand, while Hachimura has shown promise on the offensive end, averaging 12.8 points per game on impressive shooting percentages, his defensive contributions and overall consistency may have fallen short of the coaching staff’s expectations for a starting role.

Despite Hachimura’s offensive prowess, which has been particularly evident in the month of March, where he has averaged 17.1 points per game on 60.8 percent shooting from the field, the coaching staff may prioritize Prince’s defensive capabilities and consistency in the starting lineup.

Ultimately, the decision to start Prince over Hachimura reflects the Lakers’ strategic approach to lineup construction, aiming to balance offensive firepower with defensive solidity and role clarity.

Quin Snyder Had Warned Darvin Ham Before Taking Lakers Head Coaching Job

Before Darvin Ham embarked on his journey as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, he sought advice from seasoned mentors to navigate the pressures of leading one of the most storied franchises in sports. Among those mentors was Quin Snyder, the current head coach of the Atlanta Hawks and a former assistant alongside Ham during their time with the Lakers.

Snyder, who had recently parted ways with the Utah Jazz, shared insights with Ham as he prepared for his inaugural season with the Lakers. Their longstanding friendship and shared coaching experiences facilitated open dialogues, with Snyder offering guidance on planning strategies and navigating the challenges inherent in coaching at the NBA level.

Reflecting on their conversations, Snyder emphasized the importance of perseverance and maintaining perspective amid adversity. He acknowledged the demanding nature of coaching in the NBA and emphasized the need for resilience and a focus on long-term goals, rather than getting caught up in immediate results.

Despite initial struggles, Ham demonstrated resilience and adaptability, leading the Lakers to a successful turnaround and a deep playoff run in his first season as head coach. Snyder credited Ham’s perseverance and mental toughness for steering the team through difficult times and achieving success in the face of adversity.

As the Lakers faced renewed challenges in the current season with a 38-32 record, including underperformance relative to heightened expectations, Darvin Ham likely drew upon the support and wisdom shared by Snyder. The mentorship provided by experienced coaches like Snyder serves as a valuable resource for Ham as he navigates the complexities of coaching in the NBA and seeks to guide his team to further success.

Related: Lakers Fans Cook Darvin Ham After Bizarre Statement: “This Man Is Not Real…”

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