James Harden Doesn’t Believe New NBA Rules Affect Him But Stats Paint a Different Picture

Published 10/24/2021, 9:33 PM EDT
Oct 22, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden (13) reacts after an apparently being struck in the face during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports


With time, the NBA league has to update its rules to keep the game of basketball more interesting, competitive, and fair. But the recent change around the non-basketball moves came at a heavy cost for players like James Harden (Brooklyn Nets), Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks), and others.

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The updated rules do not allow the referees to allow a player to use non-basketball tastics to draw a foul. This has led to limitations in the games of players heavily dependent on this play. So recently, James Harden provided his elucidation on it.

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James Harden downplays the effect of rule changes on his game

That clip where James Harden failed to force a foul on Sixers’ Isaiah Joe has been his story since the 2021-22 preseason began. Many fans have come to believe that this has impacted the 9x All-Star’s offense.

So in a recent interview, The Beard clarified his stand on the same. He detailed, “Doesn’t matter, it’s still basketball at the end of the day. No matter how much of a big deal we try to make it, a foul is a foul. It’s pretty simple. Put too much emphasis on rules on certain people looking for fouls, but for me, it’s just gotta keep going. No big deal. I’m not the type to complain about it.” 

Well, surprisingly, these words are coming from one of the most skilled players who would draw fouls using the feature touch of his beards. 

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How has it impacted the numbers of the Brooklyn Nets star?

This year, James Harden has attempted a 12-year low of 4.0 FTs per game. In fact, the last time he averaged 3.5 made FTs was in 2010-11 as a Thunder player. Even worse, these figures are almost half of how good he did from the free throw line last season. 

Overall, Harden’s golden days from the FT line were from 2013 to 2020 when he made an insane nine FTs/Game. This also meant that around 30% of his points per game during that tenure came at the mercy of drawing fouls. 

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But The Beard didn’t seem to accept that when he expressed, I say to every official, they see a foul, call it a foul. Sometimes, coming to a game, it’s already predetermined, already have that stigma of getting foul calls. But I just tell officials, just call if they see… I can’t stop playing basketball. A foul is a foul, no matter what league it is. But it’s bigger than that. I gotta play better obviously. I’m gonna go to the basket, create opportunities for my teammates, nothing changes.” 

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So maybe James Harden will now have to be like Giannis Antetokounmpo inside the paint to force those fouls. Do you see that happening? Help us know in the comments below.

Watch this story: James Harden’s Whopping Car Collections and Go-to Outfits

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Sourabh Singh

1739 articles

Sourabh Singh is an NBA sports analyst for EssentiallySports, who has been working with the site since May 2020. Prior to this, he functioned as Managing Editor at WittyFeed, followed by a stint at Decathlon. The Sports Management graduate leads an active lifestyle, veering to the mountains for off-trail adventures.

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