James Harden has had a tendency to get to the free-throw line throughout the course of his Hall-of-Fame career. However, with new rules in place, he’s having trouble getting there.
Although it’s just three games into the season, Harden is currently averaging just three free-throw attempts per game.
A Significant Chunk of Harden’s Points Come From the Stripe
For the greater part of his tenure with the Houston Rockets, Harden averaged between 10-12 free throws a night, as that helped him put up scoring averages north of 30 points per game.
Harden tends to read his defender while taking multiple dribbles, and then he’ll either drive to the rim and initiate contact with the defender or pump fake and lean into the defender while they’re airborne.
Harden earned the reputation of getting unfair calls throughout his career, but it worked, so it’s hard to blame him for not doing what’s best for him and the team.
However, now the NBA is cracking down on that rule, as they’re telling their referees to not call a foul in those instances.
Harden’s coach, however, doesn’t think he’s being officiated fairly.
“I feel like he’s unfairly become the poster boy of not calling these fouls,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash said. “Some of them are definitely fouls still. But they’re just so alert and aware and he’s the poster child of these new decisions. … I get it, there’s a line, but some of them are still fouls.”
“I think it’s on the drive,” Nash explained of when he thinks Harden isn’t getting calls. “They’re hyper aware of him reaching for guy’s arms. But guys aren’t set, and they’re getting caught not in a legal guarding position, bumping him. That’s a foul; that has nothing to do with the hands. Those are the ones that I take a little exception to. But James will get there.”
Harden Looks to Move Forward and Take This All In Stride
Harden only had one free-throw attempt in the Nets’ Sunday night loss to the Charlotte Hornets, but Harden is simply trying to take this all in stride.
“No matter how much of a big deal we try to make it, a foul’s a foul,” Harden said. “It’s pretty simple. I feel like they’re putting too much emphasis on rules, and not even rules, but certain people to where you look at it as clear fouls. For me, you’ve just got to keep going. No big deal.
I’m not the type to complain about it. I ask every official, if they see a foul, just call a foul. Sometimes, I feel like, coming into a game, it’s already pre-determined or I have a stigma getting foul calls. But I just ask for the officials to just call what they see.”
Harden still possesses great 3-point shooting, driving and playmaking abilities, so in due time, we should still see him be among the best players in the league while adjusting to these new set of rules.
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