Report: Giannis had ‘major input’ in Bucks bringing back Darvin Ham

Jesse Cinquini
3 Min Read
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

NBA sources have reportedly said that Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo’s influence played a role in former Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham reuniting with the Bucks’ coaching staff, per Gery Woelfel.

The Lakers fired Ham after the team lost in five games to the Denver Nuggets in the opening round of the 2024 NBA Playoffs. Milwaukee then hired Ham to be the team’s top assistant coach earlier this month.

The 50-year-old’s previous stint as an assistant coach with the Bucks spanned four seasons, from the 2018-19 campaign through the 2021-22 season.

His most notable accomplishment during his stretch with the Bucks came during the year 2021, when Milwaukee eliminated the Phoenix Suns in six games in the NBA Finals to secure the franchise just its second title ever and first since the year 1971.

One constant during Ham’s previous tenure with the Bucks was that Antetokounmpo was the straw that stirred the drink on both ends of the floor for Milwaukee. He earned All-Star nods in every one of Ham’s four seasons as a part of Mike Budenholzer’s coaching staff and even took home the 2019-20 iteration of the Defensive Player of the Year award.

But in Ham’s two seasons as the head coach of the Lakers following his departure from Milwaukee, the Bucks experienced little playoff success. In the 2023 NBA Playoffs, the Bucks were eliminated by the Miami Heat in the opening round of the playoffs despite the fact that the team finished the regular season with the league’s best record.

Fast forward to the first round of the 2024 NBA Playoffs, and Milwaukee season came to an end in a similar fashion. The Bucks lost to Tyrese Haliburton and the Indiana Pacers in six games, though it’s worth mentioning that Antetokounmpo sat out for the entirety of the series with a calf injury.

Time will tell if the addition of Ham to Doc Rivers’ coaching staff will help the Bucks advance past the first round of the playoffs next year for the first time since 2022.

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Jesse is an aspiring sports journalist that has previously worked as a staff writer at SB Nation’s CelticsBlog and The Knicks Wall.