James Harden has always been great at drawing fouls and getting to the line. Over the course of his career, he has routinely led the league in free-throw attempts.
This season, however, Harden is sitting at a career-low in that category, perhaps suggesting that the NBA's recent rule changes have impacted his game in a negative way.
According to Nets coach Steve Nash, Harden's reputation as a "free-throw chaser" makes him the target of unfair biases by the officials, who may or may not be targeting Harden, intentionally or not.
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.
Harden is a 9x All-Star, 3x Scoring Champ, 7x All-NBA player, and 2018 NBA MVP with a career scoring average of 25.1 points per game.
And while he might be finding it difficult to adjust to the new league rules, head coach Steve Nash is certain that he brings a lot to the table in many different ways.
He's been a great leader for us. He's got an extremely high IQ. He cares. He really wants to win a championship. That drives him. That shows every day in the way he approaches the game, approaches practices, approaches his teammates.
That's an exciting position to be in, to have a player of his caliber that really wants to round out his career with a championship. Highly motivated, has all the experience and talent you can ask for.
The aim for the Nets this year is to bring home an NBA Championship, which will not be an easy feat by any stretch. Without Kyrie Irving, the team is missing a crucial member of its core, and it's clear that the team has yet to figure out how to replace his production.
James, 32, is going to have to step up if the Nets want to make some noise in the West this year.