It’s James Harden Appreciation Day

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Q: Tua Tagovailoa will likely be the only left-handed quarterback in the N.F.L. this season. An article I read recently discussed some potential explanations for this, including the possibility that football coaches are steering away from using left-handed players in prominent roles. Do you, as a noted southpaw advocate, think there is a similar dynamic among coaches in basketball? — Arlo Fazli (Washington, D.C.)

Stein: Thankfully, not. Not in the N.B.A. anyway.

As covered above, there were more left-handers in the N.B.A. this season than ever, including two lefties who unequivocally rank as the face of their franchises: Houston’s James Harden and New Orleans’ Zion Williamson.

I quickly polled five teams over the weekend to make sure my viewpoint was as current as possible and didn’t hear a single issue raised with left-handedness at the highest level of the sport. One trusted executive remarked that, after more than three decades working in the N.B.A., he couldn’t remember a single draft, trade or free-agency decision in his career that had been influenced by a player’s dominant hand.

It is far more common to hear basketball people say that they believe left-handers have a slight advantage because they are more scarce and thus more difficult for defenders to adjust to. There’s no better example than Harden.

Q: I think we’re forgetting about Lemon Pepper Lou. — Brandon Ramirez (Sherwood, Ark.)

Stein: Brandon is right. He was responding to one of my tweets Saturday, when I said that the first bubble flap worthy of my trusty #thisleague hashtag was the trash talking on Instagram between Portland’s Damian Lillard and the Los Angeles Clippers duo of Paul George and Patrick Beverley.

My bad. As a prisoner of the moment, I had temporarily forgotten about the Clippers’ Lou Williams earning an extra 10 days in quarantine after he was photographed at the Magic City strip club during an excused absence from the bubble to attend a family funeral in the Atlanta area. Williams said he made the detour purely to indulge in the establishment’s famed chicken wings.

In that instance, #thisleague was also the appropriate response.

Q: Does the basketball look the same to you in this setting as far as how the game is being played, intensity, player comfort? — @JGold1979 from Twitter

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