James Harden
(Neil Redmond/AP)

In basketball, a player’s offensive ability is how easily they are able to score without being fouled. If they are constantly being fouled, their defender is admitting they are too difficult to guard. In a league that has a seven- foot guard with an elite jumper, the greatest shooter of all time, and a human freight train, it’s hard to believe the best scorer in the NBA is a 6’5 shooting guard who shoots a lot of free throws. However, it’s true; James Harden is without a doubt the best scorer in the NBA, and here’s why.

His Ability to Draw Fouls

The main criticism Harden receives is that he shoots too many free throws. Last season, Harden averaged 11 free throws per game, which accounted for almost 10 of the 36 points he averaged per game that season. Many fans saw this as a cheap way for him to get easy points, but there is one thing they fail to realize. The ability to draw fouls is a very important offensive skill. A player could be an average offensive talent, but if they were able to efficiently draw fouls, they could become the most dangerous player on the court. Harden has become a master of drawing fouls, as he has attempted over 10 free throws per game 7 seven times in his career.

Elite/Unorthodox Footwork on the Perimeter

James Harden
(Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

We’ve all seen it before, it’s on every highlight reel associated with James Harden. We see him string together several dribble moves, followed by a lethal step-back 3. Harden seems have several of these every night, and it is the combination of elite ball handling and footwork. He lulls his defender into a false sense of security by using so many moves in one place, only to snap them back to reality with a snatch back; but it’s already too late by then. This is one of the two ways Harden uses his sequence of dribble moves. He also uses a slew of dribble moves to freeze a defender, similarly to the process of getting a step-back. But as the defender is frozen, Harden blows by them with one dribble, leading to a dunk or an alley-oop to a teammate on the block.

Closing Thoughts

In a fast-paced league like the one we have today. A player must have almost no weaknesses in their offensive game to be effective. James Harden has proved countless times that his offensive skillset has absolutely no flaws. The Rockets’ superstar’s shooting, ball handling, footwork, court vision, and ability to draw fouls are all among the best in the NBA. If there was one player I would ask to get a bucket, it would be James Harden.

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