For anyone who watches or has watched the NBA, you might realize James Harden seemed to get to the free throw line more often than other players. However, this season is different from the previous ones.
About two weeks before the preseason began, the NBA changed the rules a little bit. Monty McCutchen, who oversees the on-court performance of the league’s referees, is making sure that players don’t manipulate fouls. “We want basketball to be played, not manipulated.”
Fouls that the referees are not calling would include plays like when the offensive player shoots and launches himself and falls backwards onto the ground. James Harden is very good at drawing these fouls, and players can be quite frustrated to see him and other players getting away with it.
According to basketball-reference.com, in Harden’s last full season with the Houston Rockets, he averaged 12 attempts at the free throw line.
According to statmuse.com, this is the second highest free throw attempt average in the 21st century. For anyone who is a Utah Jazz fan, they probably watched the Jazz lose to Houston in the playoffs for two straight years. It seemed that Harden was always getting fouled. With all the free points that Harden was receiving, coach Quin Snyder had to figure out different ways
Trae Young is another all star that’s good at drawing fouls, he averaged nine attempts last season, per basketball-reference. com. Young, Harden, and other players trying to manipulate fouls are not getting away with it. Golden State Warriors all star Draymond Green said, “Can I say how satisfying it is to watch the game without all those terrible calls. Guys cheating the game and grabbing guys and getting the foul. I’ve been really enjoying watching basketball this year.”
As of this season, James Harden is only averaging 5 free throw attempts per game, according to basketball-reference. com. It seems progress has been made when it comes to officiating in the NBA.