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The NBA made a much needed rule change this offseason that eliminated defensive foul calls when the ball handler initiates contact on “non-basketball” moves. So just as we figured James Harden would, he’s complaining that he’s the poster boy for the rule change.
If the shoe fits, my guy.
Here’s Harden after Sunday’s 11-95 loss complaining instead of taking accountability for his lackluster 15-point performance.
James Harden comments on the new NBA rules re: drawing fouls. pic.twitter.com/zzC3WPWXDd
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) October 24, 2021
“It’s still basketball at the end of the day,” Harden said. “A foul is a foul. We’re putting too much of an emphasis on certain rules for certain people. For me you just have to keep going.”
He goes on about how he needs to ignore the injustice while spending the entire postgame whining about the rule. So which is it, James? Are we making an adjustment where your goal as an offensive player is to score, or is the mission still getting to the foul line? Harden, thankfully, is averaging just 3.2 foul shot attempts per game, which is a significant drop from the previous decade.
The days of James Harden making 48 minute basketball games takes four hours are at least temporarily over.
Check out Harden’s FT attempts per 36 mins this year after the rule change. Gotta love it. pic.twitter.com/bl5r2D3F1p
— Jason Stewart (@Daydaysdaddy) October 25, 2021
And to be clear, Harden plays this way because maneuvering your body to draw contact has proven to be effective. Somehow, without putting the ball in the basket, Harden made his way into talkshow comparisons against Michael Jordan. That’s right, Michael Jeffrey Jordan was being compared to a player whose main resource to score was at the charity stripe.
Jordan perfected the mid-range game and dunked all over big men, meanwhile Harden maneuvered his body and drew a whistle. That’s not basketball.
Here’s the real reason the rule changed
Team USA traveled for the summer olympics and it became noticeable to fans how ticky-tack fouls weren’t apart of the game — like, AT ALL. NBA stars like Damian Lillard, Devin Booker, and Zach Lavine were drawing contact as they’ve been coached to do that were suddenly “play-ons”.
Basketball suddenly looked like it did back in the 80’s.
The NBA, of course, won’t and shouldn’t go back to the days of blind side punching and tackle football because player safety always was going to become a priority, however this is a step in the right direction from an aesthetics standpoint. Fans of basketball don’t have to watch foul shooting take over basketball games and overall this makes the officials less important. Anytime fewer fouls are called or flags are thrown, that league got better.
It’s time for the beard to get back to the gym and work on shooting, dribbling, and passing. Those skills won’t help James Harden get to the foul line, but it will help the Brooklyn Nets win the eastern conference. The best basketball players in the world are being told to get better to score and we love it.
Maybe Harden can call Kyrie Irving? He hit game-winning shots with games on the line — he didn’t head to the foul line.