James Harden: Unleashing the Power of an NBA MVP

Video james harden reminds everyone what he can do

Before James Harden took an impossibly difficult shot to stun the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena, before he reminded the world why he’s the NBA’s most valuable player, before he silenced the critics of his free-throw hunting, he prepared himself mentally and physically to play.

The Ritual, the Routine, and the MVP

Harden’s pregame ritual, starting with him in full sweats with his hood pulled tightly over his head, is almost complete before tipoff. Dancing with his teammate Clint Capela, he sheds the sweats and heads to the court with a purpose. But there’s one final act that he cannot ignore. As he jogs onto the court, he veers right and heads straight for the basket base, leaping directly into the padded structure.

This, however, is just the beginning of Harden’s relentless pursuit of contact.

The Art of Drawing Fouls

Harden is on track to shoot a staggering 902 free throws this season, a feat accomplished by only two players in the past 25 seasons: Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard. Unlike these notorious poor free-throw shooters, Harden is an exceptional 85% career free-throw shooter. His ability to draw fouls has become a significant part of his offensive repertoire, putting the entire NBA on edge.

With the Houston Rockets on a winning streak, capturing 11 of their last 12 games, Harden has been averaging an astonishing 40.1 points per game during this period. These points have come with the Rockets missing key player Chris Paul due to a hamstring injury. Harden’s ability to score from seemingly impossible situations has captivated the basketball world.

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The Greatness Beyond the Foul Line

Despite his scoring prowess, Harden wants the focus to shift away from his trips to the foul line. After scoring 44 points against the Warriors, he addressed the media, stating, “They talk too much about the fouls and not enough about the greatness of what I’m doing out there on the court. That’s what we need to focus on.”

However, Harden’s ability to draw fouls cannot be ignored. Clippers coach Doc Rivers considers him the greatest one-on-one player in NBA history, while Philadelphia guard JJ Redick believes Harden’s step-back three-point shot is the most difficult to defend in basketball. Even Golden State coach Steve Kerr acknowledges that Harden has changed the game of basketball forever.

Unlocking the Mystery of Guarding Harden

Opponents find themselves wrestling with a sense of defeat when tasked with guarding Harden. His ability to manipulate defenders into fouling him is worthy of admiration, albeit sometimes begrudgingly. Combining incredible dribbling ability with impressive hand strength, he deceives defenders into reaching for a steal, only to snatch it away at the last moment. It’s like taping a $100 bill to a string, pulling it away as soon as someone tries to grab it.

Respecting the Craft

While not everyone may fully appreciate Harden’s knack for drawing fouls, it’s hard to argue with the results. Klay Thompson of the Warriors acknowledges that “it gets results,” and adds that “his scoring numbers are incredible. It’s almost like you have to do it because of the results. His production is incredible.”

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The Genius of Harden

Harden’s ability to create the illusion of being fouled while he’s actually fouling his defender is part of his genius. Steve Kerr sums it up perfectly, stating, “It’s all part of his genius, that he creates this illusion that he’s being fouled when he’s actually fouling you.”

Not only does Harden’s style frustrate defenders, but it also leads to a stagnant style of play for the Rockets, with other players often standing around. Yet, Doc Rivers recognizes this as just another facet of Harden’s game. He commends his basketball IQ, stating, “He’s just clever […] To do what he does and to draw those fouls, you have to be brilliantly smart. That’s him being smarter than whoever is guarding him every night, and that’s rare.”

The Unstoppable Force

Harden’s style may not resonate with everyone. From his occasional flopping to his methodical dribbling, combined with seemingly endless trips to the free-throw line, it’s a unique approach. But here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter to him. Whether he’s hunting for fouls or not, it doesn’t detract from his ability to dominate a game. It didn’t prevent him from decimating the Warriors at Oracle Arena or hitting a game-winning shot against the formidable duo of Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. Accompanied by the best basketball of his life, Harden remains relentless.

Unleashing Greatness

James Harden’s journey to greatness is not about the fouls; it’s about his exceptional skills on the court. His ability to draw fouls has become an art form that has confounded opponents, disrupting their emotional stability and inviting defeat. It’s a testament to his intelligence, skill, and strength. Harden’s impact has forever changed the game of basketball, carving his place in history alongside the greatest players the NBA has ever seen.

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