James Harden is the new “Answer” for the Sixers. He’s not Allen Iverson no; he’s just the answer to about a million questions. Who are the Sixers going to get in a Ben Simmons trade? Who’s not playing until after the All-Star break? Who hasn’t played since February 2nd while dealing with a nagging hamstring injury? Who’s the biggest star that the Sixers could get to join Joel Embiid on the team’s quest for its first NBA Championship since 1983? He’s the answer to all of those.
Here are a few more questions regarding Harden. Who’s having a “down” year, according to critics? Who, in that “down year,” is still 17th in the league in scoring at 22.5 points per game? Who’s second in the league in assists at 10.2 per game? Who’s closest to averaging a triple-double for the season this year in the NBA? Who was said to have quit on his last team, yet played more games than his other two co-stars, combined? James Harden is the answer to all of those questions as well.
As a ten-time All-Star, Harden missed this past weekend’s game due to a hamstring injury that he’s almost recovered from. While practice and workout videos of Harden have shown him in good spirits and, what appears to be, good health, it’s better safe than sorry for the Sixers and their most high-profile, in-season acquisition since Moses Malone. Harden is in Philly for one reason, and that’s to win an NBA championship. Pairing him with Joel Embiid is the best chance he’s had to win a title in his career, even more so than the 2018 Rockets that were the #1 seed in the Western Conference.
James Harden is a star. He’s on another level when it comes to scoring in league history, and what he’s done the past several seasons, overall, has been nothing short of amazing. He’s also averaged and played more minutes than anyone in the league over the past ten years. While his scoring may be down, he was playing on a team with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, who are no slouches when it comes to getting points. Harden is averaging just under 11 assists per game over the past two seasons. With players like Embiid down low and shooters like Tyrese Maxey, Tobias Harris, Furkan Korkmaz, Georges Niang, and others, Harden will surely maintain those numbers if not see them go up even more as the season finishes up.
The city of Philadelphia is not holding its breath anymore, in hopes of unloading the headaches they had with Simmons and debating whether Harden, Bradley Beal, or Damian Lillard would be able to be acquired and paired with Embiid. Harden is here. He’s stated that he’s wanted to be here all along since asking to be moved from Houston last season.
Harden is easily in the top ten list of best players in the league over the past five or six years, and at 32 years old, he’s looking for a championship. His basketball IQ has never been questioned, and he’s thought of as one of the smartest players in the league. Knowing that he sees Joel Embiid and the Sixers as his best chance to win an NBA Championship should really put some fear into the rest of the league.
If you think that the fans in Philadelphia don’t feel the same way, it took only a few hours for Hardens jerseys to sell out, locally, once it was announced that he would wear the number “1” for the Sixers. It’s the same number that Harden hopes the Sixers finish in at the end of the year.