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The Lakers Would Like To Speak With The Manager About LeBron Not Getting Enough Free Throws

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The Los Angeles Lakers have not been happy with the officiating to start the season, particularly when it comes to the lack of calls LeBron James is receiving. James is averaging 5.7 free throw attempts per game, which is pretty much in line with what he’s averaged over the past five seasons, but the Lakers believe he’s getting contacted more often than it’s being called.

Tuesday’s game against the Miami Heat was apparently a breaking point for Darvin Ham, LeBron, and the Lakers, as Ham got T’d up for arguing a missed call, James voiced his frustration after the game, and according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, the Lakers called the league office to voice a formal complaint, sending over videos of missed calls.

The Los Angeles Lakers contacted the NBA league office Tuesday about what they view as numerous missed foul calls in Monday’s 108-107 loss to the Miami Heat, sources told ESPN.

The Lakers’ main point of contention is how LeBron James was officiated, according to sources. The Lakers shared various clips showing what they believe to be clear illegal contact by Heat defenders against James that went unnoticed by the referees.

The other 29 fan bases, who all believe LeBron and the Lakers get preferential treatment from officials, will laugh at this, but what’s interesting is it highlights what seems to be an overall shift we’ve seen this season.

As a whole, free throw attempts are down among the stars that usually feast at the charity stripe. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Luka Doncic, Jayson Tatum, Jimmy Butler, and Julius Randle were all top-10 in free throws attempted last year and all have seen their attempts per game from the stripe dip considerably this year. The only players from last year’s top 10 that have maintained or increased their attempts per game are Trae Young, Damian Lillard, and Paolo Banchero, indicating that calls are being let go more on the inside this year against bigger players.

What will be interesting to see is whether this continues, as it seems there’s a bit more lenience being granted to defenders for contact inside this year. We’ve seen points of emphasis for officials in the past often fade away as the season wears on, and if there is a directive to allow a bit more contact this year to improve game flow, we’ll have to see if officials and the league are willing to put up with the complaints from their highest profile stars to continue that as the season continues.