Did the James Harden trade secure an extended playoff run for Sixers?

James Harden, Sixers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
James Harden, Sixers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The road to the 2021-2022 NBA playoffs has been a roller coaster ride for the Sixers organization. After months filled with drama and speculation, Doc Rivers and his staff were able to move past their issues with their former starting point guard. A trade for the talents of James Harden helped Philadelphia deal Ben Simmons to one of the few teams who wanted his talents.

Agreeing to send Simons to an interconference foe was viewed as a risky move by many NBA analysts. Head Coach Steve Nash and his staff already had elite players in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving and Simmons’ play style was expected to be a perfect blend. Philadelphia’s former point has earned a reputation of being a talented player-making slasher – able to score in the paint at will. Throwing Simmons into the lineup sounded like Brooklyn’s perfect storm. Since joining the team after the all-star break, the Nets have struggled to get their recently acquired playmaker healthy enough to perform..

While Ben Simmons nursed his back injuries on the sidelines, Harden and his new teammates in Philadelphia began to take the floor. Glimpses of a dynamic connection made fans in the city excited. Harden began his career with the Sixers on a five-game winning streak. Video clips of MVP candidate Joel Embiid learning the beard’s signature step-back 3-point shot showed the promise of Doc Rivers’ new squad.

Can James Harden take the Sixers to a championship?

When the 2022 regular season ended, the Sixers were granted the fourth seed in the Eastern bracket. Their fifty-one wins tied for second-most in their Conference. Although Philadelphia escaped a play-in-game scenario, their path to the Larry O’Brien will test the team’s determination.

Both Joel Embiid and James Harden have shown that they are more than willing to do whatever it takes to obtain a championship. Pascal Siakam and the Raptors will be the next challenge for Philadelphia’s developing ball club. Toronto’s versatile power forward has helped Fred VanVleet and other teammates find their grove this season. His 5.3 assist average is ranked 25th in the association.

Hoisting a Larry O’Brien trophy would put the perfect touch on Philadelphia’s regular season. Unlike previous seasons, the Sixers are one of the favorites to make a big run in this year’s playoff bracket. For the 76ers to be successful this postseason, they must rely on their newly acquired guard. When James Harden plays his style of basketball, his team is tough to beat.

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