The Philadelphia 76ers’ Media Day revealed…a whole lot. Between Matisse apparently having made leaps as a shooter, P.J. Tucker having dealt with some offseason knee issues, and Embiid’s focus on being an even greater defensive threat, there’s a whole lot to be excited about, including, of course, James Harden.
And despite lots of frenzy around Harden’s 100-pound weight loss (“tweet that!”), media day provided some undercover proof of just how much Harden’s presence has transformed this team.
For one, in between off-season workouts, it’s clear that James Harden spent much of this offseason on the phone with P.J. Tucker and Montrezl Harrell. Though it’s been widely speculated that the prospect of a reunion between the old teammates was enticing to both parties, the fact that Harden called Harrell “multiple times” is more proof that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to bring home a ring this year.
After taking slack for asking out of both Houston and Brooklyn over the last two years, being called “a locker room problem” and “difficult to work with,” James Harden’s ability to pull multiple impact players into his orbit shows he’s quite the opposite.
What’s more, James Harden’s former/current teammate Danuel House discussed how much the All-Star has contributed both on and off the court. Referring to him as “selfless,” House stressed that many of Harden’s “great deeds… aren’t talked about” because he’s not looking for the credit.
For his part, James Harden seemed genuinely excited about the off-season additions that were made possible in part by his $15 million pay cut. And why wouldn’t he be? Not only is this one of – if not THE most – talented teams he’s been a part of, but the chemistry is really, truly there – and that matters more than many would like to think.
As Georges Niang mentioned, Harden hosted the team in his LA home for a week of workouts, camp, and really getting to bond. And all “immaculate vibes” jokes on Twitter aside – that’s really important.
If this team is going to make it past the second round of the playoffs this year, they’ll need to know one another’s game inside and out and be able to quickly adjust as needed. That starts with knowing the player – which is exactly why so many of James Harden’s former teammates are so excited to play with him again.
Throughout his time in Philly thus far, Harden’s become notorious for being an underground hero.
Whether he’s focusing on high-passing games to less-defended players rather than constantly shooting or making less money to create room for additional impact players, there can be no doubt that James Harden is all in on a championship. And frankly, we should all be with him.