“James Harden Is Crying”: Fans Go Berserk As NBA Makes Big Change To Foul Rule

Published 09/30/2021, 2:58 PM EDT
Jun 15, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets shooting guard James Harden (13) controls the ball against Milwaukee Bucks point guard Jrue Holiday (21) during the third quarter of game five of the second round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports


James Harden is infamous for his ability to draw fouls and reach the free-throw line. And until last season, it was his primary tool for getting points other than his signature step-back threes. However, the latest rule change by the NBA will make it difficult for him to get points as easily as he could before.

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After Shams Charania confirmed during the playoffs last season that the NBA has confirmed a rule change to limit ‘non-basketball moves’ in order to draw fouls. Now the official Twitter account of the NBA has confirmed this rule change and enlisted the conditions under which this rule change will apply.

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Following this announcement, supporters and fans of the NBA did not hesitate to remind the internet who will be mainly impacted by this rule change. Majorly, James Harden’s signature off-arm tactics to draw fouls will no longer be useful. And the NBA fans pointed it out in the reference of these tweets.

Fans react to the rule change by the NBA

What does this mean for the players?

Similar to James Harden, several other players like Trae Young and to some extent Luka Doncic will see a significant impact on their offense. However, unlike Harden, these players are not majorly dependent on drawing fouls.

Since Harden has a significant percentage of his offence dependent on drawing fouls, we might not see him at the foul line as many times as we usually did. Since 2015 until the 2019-20 season, he led the league in free throws attempted per game.

However, his last season was plagued with injuries, and therefore he could not repeat this performance. Unfortunately, he might not see similar numbers on the free throw line again in his career.

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Harden has drawn 521 three-point shooting fouls since entering the league. Only Houston ranks ahead of him in such fouls as he spent most of his career there. The disparity between him and the other teams is quite astonishing. It is evident by the fact that Lakers as a team ranks behind the ‘Beard’ in terms of drawing fouls.

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Since 2009, they’ve had 439 three-point shooting fouls. While, Harden has nearly 80 more drawn fouls than the next best squad. While a scorer of his stature is bound to attract a lot of fouls, leading a whole franchise is unheard of.

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Will we see Harden adapt to this rule change and repeat these numbers? Or will he shift from being the primary scorer to the primary playmaker? What do you think?

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Chaitanya Dadhwal

254 articles

Chaitanya Dadhwal is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Even though his journalism is driven by his desire to understand both sides of an argument and give a neutral perspective, he is biased towards Houston Rockets and Arsenal, and he has shown exactly how loyal he can be through tough times. Currently a Law student at Jindal Global Law School, he aims to have his own sports management firm one day and enjoys rap music during his time off.

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