James Harden shoots a lot of free throws and it’s no secret that players around the league are tired of the perceived preferential treatment he receives from referees. Harden defiantly defended his stellar play by letting teams know that they should stop fouling if they want to keep him off of the free throw line during a recent post-game interview.
Harden doesn’t want the perception of getting a lot of calls to take away from what could be another MVP season for him. So he defended himself from players and coaches who complain about the amount of FT attempts he earns. Currently, Harden is averaging a staggering 11.0 free throw attempts per game while shooting 85% from the free throw line. This equals about 19 points per game just from shooting free throws. It’s a huge advantage that Harden earns by constantly attacking the rim while simultaneously shooting a high percentage and volume of threes. His combination of skills keeps the defense guessing which leads to fouls.
Kyle Kouzma of the Lakers seems to have given up on trying to complain about Harden’s trips to the line and has decided to emulate Harden by wearing a fake beard. Maybe he thinks the referees will mistake him for Harden and automatically send him to the FT line? Either way, it’s a clear sign that some players are fed up with how Harden is officiated. Flip the pages for the fake beard photo and Kuzma’s previous tweet about a favorable call Harden received.