Let’s just start every game with Harden shooting ten free throws, and then call the game right. At least it would be transparent that way.
Last night we saw yet another horrible officiating performance when Harden went to the line 19 times. Yes, he does handle the ball a lot, he has a herky-jerky dribble and can decelerate a lot. Looking for contact is a legitimate strategy to a certain extent. Then we have taking it too far. After that, there is just pure bulls—. Then there is James Harden.
The calls Harden is fishing for and constantly getting are becoming an issue. It culminated when LeBron and Kuzma defended Harden with their hands against their back to make a point.
If the league looks at the game and says “We want a more free-flowing offense so we will change the rules to get it,” they should do the same about foul-hunting. Maybe the refs have to call it because it’s how the current guideline instructs them to call it, even though a large number of calls are just ridiculous, then change the fuc—– guidelines! Refs watch film regularly and learn players tendencies. How is it possible for them not to see all the dirty tricks Harden is doing and call it in the game?
Here are some stats (thank you NBA Reddit) that will show you how ridiculous this is getting:
- Since James Harden was traded to Houston (2012-2018), he has attempted by far the most free throws in the league at 4955. At a distant second is Westbrook with 3608
- Vince Carter, drafted in 1998 and still active, has made less free throws in his career than James Harden. Crazier? Harden has attempted more in the last four seasons than Steve Nash did in 18 seasons.
- The Rockets have now won 12 straight games officiated by Ben Taylor
You can try and make a case Harden is leveraging the rules to his advantage and others should just adapt. Such thinking invokes the slippery slope fallacy. If you are condoning specific behavior, you are implying you want others to start acting like it. The NBA continually makes changes to increase viewership as this is, in the end, an entertainment product. Who in their right mind finds this entertaining? Or fair? Or connected to basketball?
I saved my best attempt for last. Do we want to become soccer?