Celebrate, fans of the Los Angeles Lakers. The team’s well-documented free-throw shooting woes have finally been fixed. After having gotten extra shots up at the end of practice Monday afternoon, this remedial aspect of the game that has plagued them for years will no longer continue to do so.
As reporters made their way into the practice facility, they were welcomed by those players who were available to participate at the various baskets around the gym working on their free-throw stroke. Bill Oram of The Athletic caught some of this on video.
Lakers closing practice the way they couldn’t close last night’s game - with free throws. pic.twitter.com/eqO8lZrJLd— Bill Oram (@billoram) January 14, 2019
quite the public relations stunt great to see. A couple quick notes, however:
First, it’s hard not to notice the absolute brick Lonzo Ball throws up right at the beginning of the video and the lack of coaching that follows it. It just kind of... happens. And then they move on.
Hell, look at how little coaching is going on throughout the gym. Guys are just walking to the line, going through their routine, and moving on.
Secondly, look at how little of anything else is going on. Nothing is being done to replicate anything close to what it’s like to shoot free-throws during a game. It’s just basic repetition with no focus on any of the issues that have led to how bad they’ve been.
Look, I’m not privy to how they work on free-throws during the actual practice. The NBA season is so vigorous that running sprints while working on free-throws doesn’t make much sense either, so some kind of balance needs to be found.
Hell, maybe before reporters showed up and started recording, some coaching was taking place on these shots, although it’s hard to comfortably think much coaching on shooting is going on without, you know, a shooting coach being present.
For the most part, getting extra work in on free-throw shooting is great. But if the same bad habits are being reinforced through mindless repetition, it’s hard to see much improvement coming. The definition of insanity is to continue the same action and hope for different results, after all.
Free-throws are a pretty annoying thing to plague this season. But if this is really the only way the Lakers are going to address the issue, it makes sense that the problem got this bad — and raises concerns that it’ll ever get any better.