This young Los Angeles Lakers team has had its share of issues so far this season, and one of the most constant has been their poor free throw shooting. The Lakers rank dead last in the league in free throws at 69.2 percent from the line.
No player in head coach Luke Walton’s regular rotation is at the 80-percent mark. Jordan Clarkson leads all Laker regulars at 78 percent, and it gets worse from there with multiple players under 70 percent including Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr., and Lonzo Ball at the bottom with 48 percent.
It was again an issue in Wednesday night’s loss to the Memphis Grizzlies as the Lakers missed 12 free throws in a 10-point defeat.
“I mean, we’re shooting hundreds of free throws in practice. Like, individually we’re shooting hundreds of free throws in practice,” Nance said after the Lakers’ latest loss.
“It’s just one of those things that we’re working on, we’re drilling it, but it doesn’t get better overnight. There’s going to be some growing pains with it. The work is being put in and we’ll figure it out.”
Clarkson echoed the sentiment that the work is being done, but the results aren’t there yet. “It’s crazy. We’re still in there working, shooting our free throws. We’ve just got to make them,” he said.
What makes this such an issue for the Lakers is that nearly every game this season has been close down the stretch. This has led to them being down when they could instead have a lead, or struggling to close out teams in the final minutes. Both things that are already tough enough for young roster.
The work is being put in, which is a good sign. Walton has them shooting free throws every practice it just has to translate over to the games. Until it does, the Lakers will continue to be in situations they don’t need to be in.
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