Lakers: Struggles at Foul Line Is Real Reason L.A. Is Losing Winnable Games

Maybe former coach Mike Brown wasn't the reason for the Lakers' early season struggles. Perhaps scapegoat Pau Gasol isn't the source either.

The reason behind this team's struggles may boil down to one of the simplest, most fundamental tasks in the sport: free-throw shooting.

As reported by Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times, the Lakers have lost four of their games by a combined margin of 21 points. During those four games, they've missed a total of 61 freebies.

Dwight Howard is the obvious culprit behind these shooting woes, but he's not the only one struggling at the line. It's nearly a team-wide epidemic as the Lakers have converted just 66.8 percent of their free throws in 2012-13, the second worst percentage in the NBA.

For as bad as Superman has looked at the free-throw line (47.8 percent), he hasn't been the league's worst shooter. Far from it, in fact. Al Horford, Ersan Ilyasova and Josh Smith are just a few of the players who have converted a worse percentage than Howard.

So why are the Lakers trailing so many teams in this category? Because Howard isn't the only player trying to shake his free-throw demons.

Antawn Jamison (a career 72.5 percent free-throw shooter) has made just 63.2 percent of his attempts this season. Jordan Hill has shaved more than five percentage points off of his career average with this season's mark of 66.9. Even Steve Nash replacement Darius Morris has struggled from the line, making just 56.5 percent of his tries.

The Lakers don't look like a 7-8 team. And that's because they have no business having that record in the first place. Not with the kind of talent that the front office has added to this roster. And not with Kobe Bryant channeling his MVP season of 2007-08 with 27.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists.

But their inability to make shots has handcuffed this team from showing the progress that new coach Mike D'Antoni...

About the Author