The Los Angeles Lakers are not only the worst free-throw shooting team in the NBA, they made history out of it Friday night against the Indiana Pacers. The Lakers now have a new franchise accolade, becoming the worst free-throw shooting team to win an NBA game.
The Lakers made just two of their 14 free-throw attempts as a team, with Jordan Clarkson standing as the only player who found the bottom of the net from the “charity” stripe. Sure, we knew they were a 68.8 percent shooting team from the line, but Friday night was caricature-esque.
Lakers head coach Luke Walton isn’t sure what more he can do. He’s tried directly addressing it, he’s tried letting it play it out on its own, but the problem persists.
“We talk about it, we work on it, then I try to not talk about it maybe just let it just happen naturally. I think we got up over 70 as a team before last night, but it kills us. It hurts us.
“We just have to clear our minds and take it for what it is, which is just one shot at a time, and step up there and start knocking it down,” Walton said following Lakers practice Saturday.
The team is already putting in extra work in the gym, leaving Coach Luke thinking about alternative methods. Enter meditation, something the Lakers already tried as a group exercise last month. Walton is considering using the next session as an opportunity to create a process to help players when they’re shooting free-throws.
“We have another meditation scheduled on the books for when we get back from this road trip, I was thinking about having him try to focus on some sort of relaxing mechanism while you step up to the line,” Luke said.
Walton’s experience around clearing his mind unsurprisingly dates back to his parents meditating when he was growing up. It’s easy to hear the influence of Bill Walton and Phil Jackson at times listening to Luke speak.
Luke admitted he finally enjoyed meditating by the time he left Los Angeles as a player, but that it’s not for everyone. All he’s hoping is that it does break through for even a few of the players who give it a fair chance,.
“There’s always guys that aren’t gonna understand it and not like it, but if we can get two, three, four, five of the guys to embrace it... I think what it does for your mental training. I’m a big believer in you train your muscles in the weight room, you train your skills out here on the court, your mind is like a muscle. It can be trained, and it needs work, and it needs quiet time.
“Especially in today’s world that we live in with so much social media and just constant stimulation to your phone all day, it’s important for guys to understand that you can train your mind to gain an advantage at this sport that we play,” Walton concluded.
Hopefully the Lakers all get their zen on and fix these free-throw issues. It’s a problem worth meditating on, no doubt.
*All quotes transcribed via Lakers.com