James Harden is one of four players to have the “MVP label” thrown around them this year. However, many people are denying how dominate he has been this season all because of where a ton of his points come from, the free throw line. Which in my opinion, is no big deal what’s so ever.
Harden poured in 44 points in the Rockets 110-100 win over the Indiana Pacers, giving him his 8th 40 plus point performance this season. In fact, Harden’s average amount of free throws taken this year is 9.9 per game. He shot 10.2 free throws per game on average in his first year in Houston (2012-2013), so it’s not like he’s completely been getting all of his points exclusively from the free throw line.
How many times has Harden taken ten or more free throws a game is also another interesting stat. 29 times this year Harden has taken 10 or more free throws in a game. While that number is insanely high it seems like, there’s things that overlooked about free throws.
Harden is currently listed as the 20th best free throw shooter in the NBA according to statistics, a free throw isn’t as easy as some people think, just ask guys like Rajon Rondo, DeAndre Jordan, the list goes on forever. Using the fact they can hit free throws to their advantage also helped some of the best all time, and some of the best in the game today.
Players with three seasons of shooting 80% or higher at the free throw line (minimum 9 attempts per game):
- Oscar Robertson
- Jerry West
- Allen Iverson
- Kobe Bryant
- Adrian Dantley
- Micheal Jordan
- Tiny Archibald
- Paul Arizin
- James Harden
- Kevin Durant
Source: Basketball Reference
A free throw doesn’t even count as half a possession, which is dumb to think free throws can make a huge difference always. The greats riled on free throws and calls from the refs, what’s the big deal about James Harden getting the same? Remember, when you get to the line and make them, they count as points for a reason, and it’s not as easy as everyone thinks. Some players think it’s to easy, and they end up not being able to hit them later in their career when they need it. So, the free throw part of a players’ game is critical.