One of the biggest issues this season for the Los Angeles Lakers has been their shooting. While much of the focus has been on their accuracy, or lack thereof, from 3-point range, more concerning has been their inability to knock down free throws.
The Lakers rank dead last in free throw shooting at 70.2 percent, a full percentage point behind the next worse team, the Oklahoma City Thunder. Currently, Luke Walton’s team doesn’t have a single player shooting 80 percent or better from the line.
Considering the ongoing struggles, Walton was asked if he’d considered resorting to bringing in a special coach, as the Laekrs did for Shaquille O’Neal, or if burning incenses a la Phil Jackson was the answer.
While Walton is open to potentially changing the approach, he’s content for now to have the team continue to plug away at their free throws in practice, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“We’re not there yet. Obviously, if this thing continues, like I’ve said, it’s not a talent thing, or skill thing. Our guys are very capable free-throw shooters. We’ll have to look at some other options. Maybe we’ll meditate before a game, maybe we’ll bring somebody in. To me, the way you fix things in sports and basketball, you just work harder at it. When you work harder, you gain confidence in something and you become better at it. So we’ll stick to the traditional path for now.”
If the struggles continue, Walton will have to figure out some kind of different approach to fixing things. The Lakers have already cost themselves games because of a failure to convert at the line and if players plan to attack the basket more, hitting free throws is that much more important.
In particular, the two main franchise cornerstones of Lonzo Ball (47.1 percent) and Brandon Ingram (66.9 percent) will need to improve. It will be up to Walton and the work of everyone on the roster to make sure this improvement occurs.
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