We’re a little over a week into the season, and while we pride ourselves here at Brew Hoop at sober analysis, we can’t help but notice that the fine folks who make up the SB Nation Reacts polling group love themselves a hot take or three.
One of the biggest changes the league made over the offseason was to clamp down on offensive players’ increasing tendency to overemphasize contact to draw shooting fouls. Unsurprisingly, turns out NBA fans are a-okay with a reduction in overacting:
Now, while I appreciate the mothership using Trae Young here to emphasize the point, but what about the king of phantom contact? The earl of exaggeration? Is my friend and yours, James Harden, unfairly targeted by these very same rule changes? Let’s ask the audience!
His career average of 8.3 FTA a game has dropped down to 3.0 through five games (it sat at 7.3 a game last season), and if the raw attempt numbers aren’t enough, there’s also the free throw rate — a measure of number of free throw attempts per shot attempt. From an average of .521 he’s now sitting at .192 which is both a reminder for the significant rate at which he was getting to the line and just how drastic the shift in the way he’s being handled by refs. Compare that to Giannis Antetokounmpo who, run and dunk guy that he is, has gotten to the line at a near career-high rate per game while seeing a slight gain in his free throw rate. I’m sure Harden will adjust, but the decline is stark when put in that light.
Of course, when I looked through the data provided to me about the bevy of questions asked our panelists, I couldn’t help but chuckle at this snap approval rating poll from Mavs fans about Jason Kidd:
HOW IS IT POSSIBLY THAT LOW? It’s been a week! A week!!!! Yes, a sane person would argue that this question is not asking fans about their feelings for Jason Kidd, but even still, 28% of the fanbase thinking you’re going to be out of a job after less than a single year is too funny. I’ve no idea how his rodeo in Dallas is going to work out. I do know I don’t particularly miss random nights like this:
Frank Ntilikina is checking in as well. All 15 Mavs have played tonight, still the third quarter.— Bobby Karalla (@bobbykaralla) October 27, 2021
What do you make of it all? Have the NBA shooting foul rule changes been a step in the right direction? Are we in love with the short-term change without weighing what (if any) other consequences there may be? Has James Harden been selected as a pariah by a league that residually benefits from having stars put up gaudy numbers? Will Jason Kidd be gainfully employed by the Mavs this time next year?
Let us know in the comments below, and go here to sign up for SB Nation Reacts if you want to make your voice heard!