James Harden is one of the world's leading experts at drawing fouls and getting to the line. In fact, up until this season, he manipulated officiating to his own advantage, drawing contact and selling a foul to get easy points at the charity stripe.
So when the league implemented a handful of new rules aimed at combating those types of strategies, people doubted right away that Harden would be able to perform at the same level.
“Yeah for sure, but I’m not the type to complain about it,” said Harden. “Sometimes I feel like coming into a game it’s already predetermined or I already have that stigma of getting foul calls but I just ask for officials to call what they see.”
Harden is averaging just a little over 20 points per game this season, way down from his career average of 25.1
According to Harden, the key is all about regaining his confidence.
“I’m just getting my confidence back you know, I’m a little hesitant…. you guys can see it,” The Beard admitted. “Going through a lot of ups and downs last year and then coming into training camp healthy, then making sure my conditioning is where it needed to be.”
Just making sure my confidence continues to build and that’s all that maters,” the 2018 MVP added. “Were in game 3 and hopefully my confidence- well not hopefully-but my confidence will rise. It will continue to get better as games go on, I’ll get more confident, and I [will] get that burst of speed like I’m normally used to. So no worries at all.”
As for Harden being the victim of unfair bias by the referees, Steve Nash was the first to suggest it, and many have come to agree
Steve Nash said James Harden has unfairly become the poster child of some of these rule changes with non-basketball moves. Said he’s still getting fouled, but feels the refs are hyper-aware with them when Harden has the ball. Harden has shot just nine free throws all season.
At 1-2, the Nets are clearly not yet where they want to be, especially without Kyrie.
Regardless o the impact of the rule change, it will be up to James Harden and Kevin Durant to bring success to this team.