3 Moves Darvin Ham Needs to Make Against the Nuggets To Save His Job

The Lakers head coach needs to push the right buttons to give his team a chance against the Nuggets.
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
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The Los Angeles Lakers begin their playoff journey on Saturday against the Denver Nuggets. In the rematch of last season's Western Conference Finals, the Lakers will have revenge on their minds as they try to dethrone the reigning champs.

The Nuggets are the favorites to start the series. Lakers head coach Darvin Ham needs to push the right buttons to give his team a fighting chance against the Western Conference favorites. Ham gets significant criticism from Lakers fans, some unfair, some warranted. However, the pressure will be on him to make this a competitive series, and here are three things he needs to do.

1. Match Anthony Davis's Minutes with Nikola Jokic

Anthony Davis obviously is not going to be guarding Nikola Jokic the entire time. When the Lakers tried that in last season's series, it didn't work out well. After Game 1, Rui Hachimura and LeBron James spent time defending the Joker for extended periods while AD provided backline defense as a rim protector.

That will likely continue into this series as well. But, even if Davis is not guarding Jokic, it's imperative that he is on the floor when the two-time MVP is.

Jokic is the best in the NBA in dissecting defenses and taking advantage of mismatches. If Davis is not there as a help defender, Jokic will find cutters like Aaron Gordon, Christian Braun, and Peyton Watson around the basket for easy finishes. Plus, he will almost certainly beat Hachimura and James on post-ups and drives to the basket. AD needs to be there to help and bother his shot around the rim.

During his Lakers tenure, Davis has proven that he can be the best playoff defender in the league. He wasn't as good against the Nuggets last year, but the Lakers need him to play as many minutes as he can handle if they are to have a chance against Denver.