Will James Harden’s Ref-Baiting Come Back to Bite Him?

December 9th, 2014 by Kelly Scaletta Leave a reply »

James Harden goes to the free-throw strip a lot. He’s attempted (192) and made (172) more freebies than anyone in the league this year. Is there something foul to the frequency with which he draws fouls? Is he a ref-baiter? And will it come back to bite him in the postseason?

In the online age, there are certain mythos which become treated as fact. "LeBron James has no clutch gene." "Kobe Bryant is a ball hog." "Derrick Rose is mentally weak." These are troll-driven narratives which don’t hold up to scrutiny, but the ubiquity of that false mentality allows them to become accepted as true.

The latest of such fallacies is James Harden's ref-baiting and how it comes back to bite him in the playoffs.


Does Harden Ref-Bait?

Ref-baiting, in spite of what the term seems to imply, is not sticking a ref on the end of a hook when you go fishing. It’s a disingenuous way of attaching a negative moniker to a positive skill. The implication is that a player is tricking a referee into calling a foul where none existed.

This is not what Harden does. He actually gets defender ...

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