Please don't pass this off as another old man yells at cloud column. I'm far too young for that.
Nonetheless, James Harden's 40-point performance against the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night was an absolute travesty to the game. The former MVP is so exciting to watch, but it's unfortunate when he spends the majority of the game standing at the charity stripe. Harden is one of the best in the Association at drawing contact, but this was excessive, even for him.
Harden shot a career high 27 free throws.
James Harden has shot 27 free throws. This isn't basketball.— David Dennis Jr. (@DavidDTSS) January 1, 2019
No, this isn't basketball. It's essentially a game of knockout.
Harden made 21 of his 27 free throws, while the Memphis Grizzlies AS A TEAM shot 30. Yes, you read that correctly, one player nearly had more opportunities at the free throw line than an entire roster.
This isn't to blame Harden--it's completely understandable that he'd take advantage of an obvious flaw in the game he loves. This is purely on the officials and the NBA culture that accepts this style of play as entertaining.
James Harden goes 21/27 on his free throws. Analytics twitter: pic.twitter.com/S1DhFMG419— Daman Rangoola (@damanr) January 1, 2019
At its best the NBA is an up-and-down game which makes college basketball look slower than golf. But when it devolves into a free throw shooting contest, the Association lets down the fans and League Pass warriors who hang on its every shot.
Be better. Don't fall for obvious flops or assume contact. Make stars like Harden adjust their game, as they're surely talented enough to do so. We've had enough.