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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3. Make Sure LeBron James Doesn't Wear Out Early

This one is easier said than done. If LeBron James is feeling good and can play extended minutes, it's difficult for any coach to not play him. But, in his age 39 season, LeBron needs to be used more cautiously, especially against the Nuggets.

Denver is one of the best offensive teams in the league. To be able to slow them down, you need to have intense discipline, effort, and focus for 48 minutes. Otherwise, Jokic will pick your defense apart with precision passing and hyper-efficient shot generation.

Therefore, LeBron needs to be locked in on that end of the floor for the entire series. He might get the Jokic assignment at the end of games, which will tire him out even more. At this stage of his career, James ideally shouldn't be playing over 40+ minutes per game.

Leading up to the playoffs, James had to push 40 minutes a game for the last couple of weeks. This level of wear and tear on his body might come back to haunt him, especially in the high-altitude environment in Denver. LeBron needs to conserve some energy for later in the series for the Lakers to have a chance.

So, Ham needs to survive the minutes without his superstar. Putting the right lineups out there to put up enough points on one end without compromising your defense without LeBron will be the challenge Ham needs to figure out.

The Lakers have an uphill battle against Nikola Jokic & Co. They are currently +310 on FanDuel Sportsbook to win the series. Whether Darvin Ham can close the gap with his adjustments remains to be seen.

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