Does James Harden really get to the FT too much?

I am not a fan of James Harden, but maintain an agnostic position on him. There is more to like about him than to dislike…. with a beard like he has, I feel you deserve some love. He is obviously extremely gifted (duh) and is likely an MVP candidate this year; He is averaging a whopping 30.9 pts/game this year and almost nine assist/game. A significant part of his game is drawing fouls, wether that is going to the hoop, or shooting an outside shot, Harden forces officials to blow the whistle. There is this assumption that James Hard is always at the free throw line. I have heard it time and time again, but I have never really looked at it.. sooooo… let’s look at the numbers.

Context of the Numbers

I took the top 50 scoring players since the 2014-2015 season till now. I only looked at players that had played at least 80 total games during that four year stretch. And finally, I took the average of the average of free throw attempts. You may have a problem with me taking an average of an average, but… whatever. It was easy data and accurate. (All from It still tells an interesting story. What you see in the below sections is the top 10 players for each category of free throws attempted per game and free throws attempted per 100 possessions. Notice who is #1 on both lists?

Average of the FTA since 2014 per game

FTA per Game.png

Average of the FTA per 100 possession average since 2014

FTA per 100 pos

Safe to say, Harden gets to the line the most and it accounts for 30% of his PTS/Game. Also interesting to see what types of positions are listed. Big men have a consistent presence on these lists.

The following video provides a great break down on the shrewd way Harden creates fouls.

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