3 Players Most Affected By New Rules; "We're Getting Rid of a Lot of the Nonsense"

The NBA is cleaning up the game. It's on pace for its lowest number of free throws per game in league history. “I love what I’m seeing," said Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. ""We're getting rid of a lot of the nonsense. I think the refs have done a fantastic job... The game has more of an authentic feel.” And it's all thanks to the new "non-basketball moves" rules that prevent ref-baiting. 

But you know who's not giving thanks? Players who used to make a living on those "non-basketball moves." Who's being affected the most? No surprises here. 

1. James Harden 

Harden is averaging 16.6 points through the Brooklyn Nets' first five games. About 10 points below his career average. He's averaging just THREE free throws a game, 5 1/2 per game below his career mark. Coincidence? Harden's propensity to either barrel into legally positioned defenders, or hook arms with them and draw a foul has been taken away, as can be seen in this video thread posted by respected NBA insider Nate Duncan:

 Not this year James. Love it. pic.twitter.com/Q2yCG5wVeI

From Harden's perspective, he's being picked on. The league feels otherwise.

2. Trae Young

Atlanta Hawks' star guard Young is also speaking out against the new rules. His free throw attempts per game have been cut in half this season, from 8.7 per game to 4.4. He's still averaging 24 points, down just a point per game from last season. 

"It's frustrating," says Young. "There's a lot of missed calls.... Especially a smaller guy like me who's going up against bigger and stronger defenders, they're using their body and they're using their legs and their hands to stop me."

3. Damian Lillard

Lillard's scoring is down over 10 points a game, to 17.8, the lowest of his career. His free throw attempts are at 4.5 per game, down from 7.2. 

To be fair, Lillard hasn't been one of the poster boys for the unnatural basketball moves, so this one could just be a slow start. At least that's what Dame himself is suggesting on Twitter, citing his 9-year resume over this 4-game sample size:

Steph Curry, on the other hand, seems to have adjusted to the new rules. He was also one of the players who took advantage of "non-basketball moves" on a regular basis to get to the free throw line. But his numbers this season haven't suffered. Even coach Kerr has noticed: 

"We've seen Steph a couple of times 'pump-fake' and start to jump into his  guy, and then realize, 'oh, I'm not gonna get that call', and he moves the ball on."

And besides, Curry can still do stuff like this:

An insane one-footed deep three, that even he had to laugh at.  

Now if only Harden and Young can get back to having fun, and playing by the new rules.