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Roster issues, not Coach Darvin Ham, is what most ails the Los Angeles Lakers

Lakers: LeBron

In the world of sports, things can go well in a hurry and fall apart quickly.

So is the life of the Los Angeles Lakers.

It wasn’t that long ago that the Los Angles Lakers were celebrating the NBA In-Season Tournament championship. And last May, they were playing in the Western Conference Final with a shot at the NBA Finals.

These days, they’re a team in disarray.

The Lakers are 24th in the NBA in offensive rating — they were just passed in that category by the Washington Wizards. The Wizards! — and no team that ranks below them has a winning record.

They’re 28th in offensive rebounding percentage, with the 29th place team nipping at their heels.

The Lakers can’t score from 3-point range. They’re 26th in 3-point percentage, just ahead of the Detroit Pistons. They’re last in the league in attempts and 29th in makes.

Instead of looking at a roster that’s not performing, it appears the focus is on second-year coach Darvin Ham, who has been making constant changes to the lineup and players are reportedly scratching their heads.

Related: Could Zach LaVine be bound for the Los Angeles Lakers?

Darvin Ham could be scapegoat for Los Angeles Lakers’ woes

los angeles lakers: darvin ham
Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The offensive numbers show that the Lakers lineup hasn’t come through. But it’s Ham who might be the fall guy for those issues.

He started the season with a top three of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Austin Reaves. But nine games into the season he moved Reaves out of the starting lineup. This became news, especially since Reaves received so much attention for how he played in last season’s playoffs.

He inserted D’Angelo Russell, which seemed to work for a while, then replaced Russell with Jarred Vanderbilt. Then against Miami on Thursday, he put Reaves back in.

Reaves has been unhappy with his role, and the team in general has been unhappy with how everything went down. Maybe he’s back in the lineup for good. He’s the third-best player.

To be fair, Rui Hachimura has been dealing with injuries and Gabe Vincent is out until after the All-Star break.

Ham has played double-digit different lineups this season, six since the NBA In-Season Tournament. That’s too much.

Could the Los Angeles Lakers make a deal to be better?

los angeles lakers: zach lavine
Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Something has to give if the Lakers want to be contenders. They should be active ahead of the trade deadline.

LeBron just turned 39. He has been outstanding this season, but at some point, it’s going to catch up with him. He played through injury in playoffs last season and pretty much willed the team to the West finals.

There were rumors that the Lakers discussed a possible trade for Atlanta guard Trae Young, but that didn’t happen.

They could target Zach LaVine, who isn’t happy in Chicago and wants out. LaVine has a little more than three years and more than $140 million left on the contract he signed two seasons ago.

The Bulls have shopped him around but, according to rumors, have asked too much in return. He has been injured for most of this season but has had seasons averaging 25 and 27 points. He would be a good fit with James and Davis for providing offensive punch.

Another Bulls player, DeMar DeRozan, could also be a good fit. He is averaging 22.4 points and 5.3 assists per game. Even though he’s not a 3-point shooter, he would be a good fit to help the struggling offense.

But the Lakers need to do something to fix these issues and not just put the blame on Ham.

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