James Harden gets to the line. He gets to the line so much that Rockets GM Daryl Morey protested, in a recent article at ESPN, that he’s bothered by the perception that “James is somehow tricking the game.” If he’s tricking the refs, he’s tricking them consistently. (Sure his 824 attempts last year was a personal high, but two years before that he shot 792 free throws in three fewer games.) It’s more likely that Harden’s just tricking his defender(s), who either foul him or watch him score. And Morey is trying some PR to make sure the refs keep blowing their whistles.
Harden’s 824 free throw attempts in the 2014-15 season gave him a full 30% more than the second biggest whistle beneficiary, OKC’s Russell Westbrook. Astoundingly, even considering his fondness for the 3-point line, NBA MVP Steph Curry shot just 337 free throws all season. That means James Harden, with his 824 attempts, shot 144% more free throws than Curry. BTW, Curry shot 91% from the stripe; Harden 87%.