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#pounditTuesday, November 30, 2021

Nets coach thinks new foul rules are unfair to James Harden

The curtains have abruptly come down on James Harden’s Magnificent Foul-Baiting Circus this season. Now his head coach is complaining about the new rules that have adversely affected Harden.

After the Brooklyn Nets lost to the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday, Nets coach Steve Nash spoke out against the rule change that now disfavors awarding fouls to offensive players who create contact using non-basketball plays. He said that Harden has unfairly become the poster child of the rule change, per Alex Schiffer of The Athletic. Nash added that Harden is still getting fouled but that referees are hyper-aware of the new rules when Harden has the ball.

The former NBA MVP Harden had arguably been the biggest beneficiary of the increasingly loose whistle with offensive players in previous years. It got to the point that Harden would just be flailing around theatrically without even remotely attempting to score yet would still be getting rewarded with free throws. We even got some truly ridiculous lowlights from him like this.

At his peak with the Houston Rockets in 2019-20, Harden was averaging 34.3 points on an absurd 11.8 free throw attempts a game. But now Harden is averaging just 18.3 points on 3.0 free throw attempts per game amid the crackdown on foul-baiting. Nash clearly believes Harden is being treated unfairly. But many others will see Harden’s struggles as pure karmic justice.

Photo: Feb 16, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden (13) reacts against the Phoenix Suns at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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