Lakers News: Darvin Ham Praises Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Postgame Comments After Bucks Loss
Darvin Ham Giannis Antetokounmpo Lakers
(Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

Before Darvin Ham became the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, he was an assistant under Mike Budenholzer first with the Atlanta Hawks and then following him to the Milwaukee Bucks for the last five years. Ham would win a championship there as an assistant and obviously has a lot of close connections with those still there including Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The Bucks were upset in the first round of the playoffs by the Miami Heat and while Ham is obviously focused on the Lakers’ journey, he did take some time to speak on his former team. The Lakers coach gave his support to Budenholzer while also speaking on Antetokounmpo’s press conference after the final game of the series in which he pushed back on the idea of the season being a failure for Milwaukee.

“It sucks that they lost, honestly,” Ham said about the Bucks’ playoff loss. “But also, just thinking of Coach Bud, who’s going through a lot on a personal level. He just lost a brother, my apologies if that hasn’t gotten out but he and I have been texting. I love those guys, they’re part of my basketball family and on a personal level. Those guys were great to me, and Giannis being at the top of the list. And he was just being who he really is in that way.

“A total class act… Some guys would be irritated, and he definitely did look concerned. But the answer he gave is just who he is. Success is a step-by-step process, nothing happens overnight. We have a saying that I brought here, ‘Adherence to the daily process leads to progress.’ He’s all about that and I was proud of him, actually. Very proud of him. He comes from a great family, a great support system. He’s been great for that city, great for the league and great for basketball all over the world. So it doesn’t surprise me that he handled that the way he did.”

Budenholzer is one of Ham’s closest friends within the NBA family so there is no doubt that Ham feels for him as goes through a rough time in his personal life. Trying to focus on basketball while dealing with a loss of a sibling is something that is just unfathomable.

The Antetokounmpo press conference has been a topic of discussion ever since the former MVP got up from that podium and it begs the question of how success and failure are defined in the NBA.

The Bucks were the top overall seed in the playoffs and lost in five games in the first round, so in one sense that would be considered a failure of a season. But as Giannis said, it is all a journey and there will be ups and downs throughout. The Bucks have been at the top of the mountain and now are back at the bottom, but perhaps this is just the beginning of a new story and Ham understands the mindset that Antetokounmpo is embracing in this moment.

Ham still has a lot on his plate as he prepares his Lakers to take on the Golden State Warriors in the second round of the playoffs. But with him being so close with the Bucks franchise and those involved, it only makes sense that he would have his thoughts on this as well, showing support for people he remains close with.

Austin Reaves talks Lakers’ togetherness as a team

Ham has brought over some of those same teachings and mantras to the Lakers and it is paying off as this group is extremely close despite so many changes being made in the middle of the season. In fact, when Austin Reaves was asked what is one word he would use to describe the Lakers, the answer was easy.

“Together would be the word,” Reaves said after Friday night’s win. “I think you can tell just by really what I was talking about. You can hold each other accountable, you can have tough conversations in game.

“If I come down and I miss DLo on a swing, swing, he can come to me and tell me to swing it and I’m not taking it any type of way because I know the next possession if the roles are reversed, then he’s gonna get off it and make the extra pass and really just play the right way. So that’s really it, everybody is really connected on the court, off the court. It’s just a group of guys that enjoy being around one another.”

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