James Harden has been on the court for just over two weeks, but he’s already made an impact on the new-look NBA. The Rockets’ new face in town has averaged 28.6 points per game while posting a team-high 11 assists through four games.
The brooklyn nets team is a professional basketball team that plays in the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association. James Harden has been with the team since being drafted by them in 2009.
James Harden has shot more free throws than any other NBA player since being acquired to the Houston Rockets in 2012. This season, the NBA is clamping down on offensive players who go after fouls. It’s not fair to blame the NBA’s decision entirely on Harden. He is, nevertheless, the most well-known of the criminals. The Brooklyn Nets star seemed to still be adapting to the NBA’s new normal on opening night against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Harden scored 20 points on 6-of-16 shooting against the Bucks, including an unusually dismal 2-of-8 on 2-point tries. However, a glance beyond the statistics reveals that The Beard was still up to his old tactics, only to come up with fresh, unsatisfactory outcomes.
The past nine seasons, James Harden has averaged more over 10 free throws per game.
James Harden has shot more free throws than any other player in the NBA after being traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder to Houston in October 2012.
Harden attempted 6,707 foul throws from 2012–13 to 2020–21. Russell Westbrook, the next player on the list, has almost 2,000 more (4,745).
Harden also led the league in field goal attempts per game. In that time, he’s the only player who has averaged at least 10 charity tosses per game (10.2). The Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid finished second with 9.0 per night, while Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans was the only other player with more than eight a night (8.3).
Harden is, of course, one of the league’s greatest free-throw shooters. When you’re canning 85.8% of your income, it makes sense to go to the line as often as possible (46th-best in NBA history). He’s also quickly ascended the all-time record for total attempts. He’s ranked 23rd in those standings with 7,659 points as of the Oct. 19 season opening.
However, despite his floundering in Milwaukee, the benefits were meager.
In Milwaukee, Harden didn’t receive any calls.
On opening night, James Harden only took four free throws for the Brooklyn Nets because his trademark whistle-drawing tactics weren’t working. | Getty Images/Stacy Revere
James Harden has been an exceptional finisher throughout his career because to his upper-body strength. He’s succeeded in approximately 64% of his efforts within the restricted zone. Last season, he had a 67.4 percent showing, and he hasn’t been below 60% since his debut year in 2009–10.
Harden, on the other hand, shot only 2-of-6 at the basket against the Bucks. Harden uses one of his old standby techniques, a frantic flailing of the arms, to try to draw a foul call on Milwaukee defender Brook Lopez on this shot attempt.
Harden only attempted four free throws against the Bucks, all of which he made. It’s a small sample size, with just one game. However, for a guy who has averaged 8.7 attempts a game in his career, it’s at least a hint that he might need to adjust his strategy.
It may be as easy as taking a solid shot instead of raising his arms or dropping to the ground in an attempt to influence a call. Referees made those no-calls a point of focus in the preseason, which seems to have carried over into the regular season.
One of the most egregious offenders was James Harden.
James Harden could find a way to the free-throw line if he wanted to. Harden was the maestro of snagging an opponent’s arm while bringing the ball to the basket or embellishing even the tiniest indication of touch.
Shot movements that aren’t natural? The Beard possesses a wide range of skills. Until this season, that is.
Harden got a taste of the new normal during the preseason, when he was arguing his case to referees after his trademark gyrations didn’t earn him the free-throw attempts he expected.
He wasn’t the only one. Steve Nash, Trae Young’s childhood hero, chastised Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks for his foul-hunting antics. Stephen Curry is also capable of referee tampering.
However, James Harden is one of just 12 players in NBA history to average 25 points a game. You won’t be able to get there until you know how to “score the ball.” (After all, no one wants to be associated with “scoring the toaster.”) He’ll get used to it. Scorers always do, even if they don’t have 10 or more foul shots to deal with each night.
Basketball Reference, Stathead, and NBA.com provided the statistics.
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