The Los Angeles Lakers lost 109-102 to the Milwaukee Bucks on the road, however, it felt a little bit like a “win” given the continued absence of LeBron James and the way the team had lost recently to the Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves. Even with the “moral victory”, head coach Frank Vogel was upset afterward when talking to reporters. He specifically was annoyed with the lack of free throws rewarded to Anthony Davis. On the box score, you’ll see a big goose egg where his free-throw attempts are supposed to be, as it was only the third time this season that AD failed to reach the charity stripe (with one of those three games being the Trail Blazers game where he left after seven minutes with his stomach issues).
As ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported, Vogel said the lack of free throws was “mind-boggling” and even said they had been talking about it to the league even before the referees in the Bucks game disappointed Vogel yet again.
Frank Vogel: “I think Anthony Davis getting zero free throw attempts is a little bit mind boggling. And it’s something we’ve been communicating to the league about”
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) November 18, 2021
Our former writer and forever friend Jacob Rude (of Silver Screen & Roll) highlighted on Twitter that Vogel’s complaints may be valid, as Anthony Davis is currently averaging the least amount of free-throw attempts per game since his rookie season with the New Orleans Hornets. But hey, maybe AD just isn’t getting to the rim often. Maybe he’s been settling for far too many of those mid-range attempts that made him such a monster in the Orlando bubble. Well…that’s not exactly the case either.
Pair that with his free throw rate of .315, which would be the lowest in his career, and there is a pretty good case the Lakers have for being upset that he isn't getting foul calls.
— Jacob Rude (@JacobRude) November 18, 2021
This is something that’s been mulled over in Vogel’s brain for at least this entire month, as Jacob also notes that this isn’t the first time he’s discussed low free-throw attempts for the Lakers as a whole. Prior to the November 2nd win against the Rockets, he noted that he wanted the team to get to the line more and that they were actually sending clips to the NBA for their re-consideration in terms of fouls that weren’t called for the Lakers’ players. This definitely isn’t the first time that Vogel and the team have done something like this, as it’s something they’ve been doing since the championship season and is also a practice that nearly all teams across the NBA participate in.
— Ricky’s Laker Propaganda Network (@MrRickySpanish) November 18, 2021
As with most of these things, there’s usually a regression back to the mean following the outlier period. Given his high amount of attempts at the rim this season, I’m sure Anthony Davis will start to get his free throws more often, especially with Frank Vogel and the team poking the NBA to do so. I mean, hopefully he does, as I don’t think Vogel will be able to handle the fury he has if calls like the one above continue to get missed by the referees.