Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash voiced his opinion on some of the NBA's new foul rules and how James Harden has been perceived as one of the intended targets of the initiative.
"I feel like he's unfairly become the poster boy of not calling these fouls," Nash told reporters following the Nets' 111-95 loss to the Charlotte Hornets. "Some of them are definitely fouls still."
Harden concurred with the assessment:
Prior to the 2021-22 season, the NBA announced it was instructing referees to avoid calling fouls in situations where the offensive player attempts to draw a call with a non-basketball move.
The league office shared a number of examples:
Back in 2017, Harden was firmly in the NBA sights when it cracked down on the rip-through motion he used to consistently draw fouls during his shooting motion. The 2017-18 MVP wasn't the only player who utilized the rip-through move, but he was far and away the biggest example.
In this case, Harden is one of many dynamic scorers who have sought ways to game the system a bit to earn the referee's whistle. Trae Young was just as guilty, if not more so, and his tactics led Nash to tell referees, "That's not basketball," during a game between the Nets and Atlanta Hawks.
Through three games, Harden is averaging 18.3 points and 3.0 free-throw attempts. Early on, he seems to be struggling in the NBA's new normal.
But the nine-time All-Star will inevitably adapt, and perhaps he'll devise a new way to push the rulebook to its limits.