Lakers News: Darvin Ham Explains Importance Of Free Throw Line To Team’s Success
Darvin Ham, Lakers
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Even though this team hasn’t been together for long, the Los Angeles Lakers have an identity as a physical team who thrives on defense and attacks the basket on offense. Because of that physicality and aggression, Darvin Ham’s team often lives at the free-throw line.

No team attempted more free throws than the Lakers during the regular season and that is not by accident. This is something Darvin Ham has preached and practiced on both ends of the court. He wants the Lakers to get to the line on offense and prevent the opposition from doing so defensively and that is a big part of their success. To that point, the Lakers shot 20 more free throws than the Golden State Warriors in their Game 3 win.

And Ham knows how important the charity stripe is to his team. “The free throw line is a huge, huge component when it comes to your success or failure, specifically in the NBA,” Ham said prior to the Lakers’ Game 3 victory over the Golden State Warriors. “We came in with a system that I helped build at other places, we have drills that we do, we have film that we watch, numbers that we show the guys. Just us showing our hands, knowing how tightly things are officiated now, that’s beyond your control if the referee is gonna call a foul or not.

“Sometimes you don’t disrupt a player, but just your hand placement can be the cause for a whistle being blown,” Ham continued on. “So we work on just showing our hands when we do our pick-and-roll defense, contesting at the rim on verticality drills, on-ball drills, we’re constantly preaching and harping on showing your hands.

“On the flip side of that, us being a physical ballclub and playing downhill, playing with force to the paint, loving and living in the paint, that’s how we get that disparity if there is one, to go in our favor. It’s also about not getting discouraged whether we get a foul call or not, just again, constantly exploring, constantly attacking the paint.”

The Lakers have a number of players who are excellent at drawing fouls. Between Anthony Davis, LeBron James, Austin Reaves, Dennis Schroder and D’Angelo Russell the team has plenty of players who thrive in attacking the basket and getting to the line.

But just as important is what the Lakers do on the other end of the court and that is a huge reason why the team is having success in this postseason.

Lakers coach Darvin Ham points to load management as why Anthony Davis can play big minutes in the playoffs

Thanks to the Lakers pulling away in the second half, Darvin Ham was able to limit the minutes of Anthony Davis and LeBron James in Game 3. But when it is necessary, Davis in particular has played huge minutes for the Lakers and Ham pointed to load management throughout the season as the reason why.

“Again, I repeat, this is what load management is about. If there’s going to be load management, we have to manage their loads throughout the regular season in order for us to push them a little further during this time of year. Postseason, everything is at its peak,” Ham said. “You have to pare down your rotation and you got to push the big dogs. Your big dogs got to be there early and often.”

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