Lakers takeaways: Despite short appearances, Darvin Ham pleased with his big three

Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook, second from right, jumps as he guards Sacramento Kings guard De'Aaron Fox
Lakers guard Russell Westbrook jumps as he guards Sacramento's De'Aaron Fox as LeBron James, left, watches Monday at Crypto.com Arena. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

The new version of the Lakers’ big three of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook are back together for a second season, but this time it’s under the direction of new coach Darvin Ham.

And in Ham’s view, that trio was impressive during Monday night’s exhibition game against the Sacramento Kings at Crypto.com Arena.

Even though James missed all seven of his field-goal attempts, Ham liked what he saw from the threesome.

“I thought it was great,” Ham said Monday night after the Lakers lost to the Kings 105-75. “They allowed themselves to help one another. Like I said, we have a three-series that involves all three of them, a half-court play call, and I think they’re gonna thrive.

"So, there’s many different nuances that they can approach out of that set that’s gonna enhance all of their games and allow them to share the load, so to speak. I loved what I saw. It was good. It was good.”

Here are a couple takeaways from the Lakers' first exhibition game:

More time, more success?

James (16 minutes), Davis (16) and Westbrook (15) only played in the first half. They combined for 20 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists.  

 

“Well, like I told you guys on media day, it’s all about time,” James said. “The more time and the more minutes we can log on the floor, the more and more comfortable we can become.”

Westbrook was solid, going two-for-three from the field for five points to go along with three assists and two rebounds. He attacked the basket and found open teammates.

James, on the other hand didn’t make a shot, his four points coming from the free-throw line where he was four-for-five.

He laughed when told it’s rare to see him miss every shot, even in an exhibition game.

“I just missed some shots that I normally make,” James said. “I missed three layups, a wide-open layup, a couple threes. But I’ve been 0-fer before. It’s just I played more. I’ve started a game where I’ve been 0-for-9 before but I’ve played 35, 40 minutes and I got an opportunity to get my rhythm.

"In 15 minutes, it was over with. But that’s the last thing on my mind, as far as makes or misses. It’s about working our habits offensively and defensively, putting in the stuff we’ve been doing over the week, and we all got some pretty good looks tonight.”

Davis gets teed up

Davis drove baseline and powered up for a move, his body contorting, his shot off. He glared at the referee and yelled, “call the ….foul.”

It was just the first quarter of the Lakers’ first exhibition game and Davis was hit with a technical foul.

During his time with the Lakers, it has been rare to see him show emotion, Davis was told.

“I know and I apologized right away,” he said. “I was in midseason form. I definitely apologized [to the referee].”

Davis then went to work, scoring 11 points and collecting 11 rebounds.

He was even making his three-pointers, going two-for-four.

Last season, Davis shot just 18.6% from three-point range. He said a wrist injury was problematic but he’s all healed now.

“Yeah, I was just trying to get the wrist back to where it is, so it included some of that," Davis said. "That's all it was. I never lost confidence in my shot. Just battling a little wrist injury. So, once I got completely healthy and get back training, I kind of included that and get that formation back down. Get them reps and that muscle memory shooting the three.”

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.