James Harden potentially returning soon for Philadelphia 76ers

Philadelphia 76ers, James Harden (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Philadelphia 76ers, James Harden (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

Without the services of former MVP James Harden, the Philadelphia 76ers have done a good job of surviving in the standings as they have an 8-4 record in his absence. They did this without Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey for stretches as well.

Now it’s being reported that Harden is planning to return to the lineup against his former team the Houston Rockets, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. This is good news for Philly who is short on guard depth, but Harden’s return does change things for the Sixers.

Harden’s potential return changes things for the Philadelphia 76ers.

When Harden went down with injury De’Anthony Melton took over his starting role, but expect Melton to keep to that job when Harden returns due to the Maxey injury. With Maxey out Shake Milton has stepped up in a major way. However, with Harden returning, the need for Milton is less so he’s most likely coming off the bench.

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This will cause Harden to play with another guard who isn’t a primary playmaker for the first time since he was paired with Patrick Beverley. Melton’s defense should help Harden as he slowly makes his way back on that end.

Another thing to consider is that the team will slow down their pace with Harden liking to at a slower pace and no Maxey in the lineup. Slowing down the pace will also allow the team to work on the chemistry between Harden and Embiid which will make the offense struggle at times.

With Harden’s return don’t be surprised to see more Montrezl Harrell versus Paul Reed. Harden has a history with Harrell which proves to help big men to get playing time over Reed despite the young big man being the better player.

It’s great to have Harden return as he’s an All-Star who’s one of the best playmakers in the NBA. However, it is going to cause the Philadelphia 76ers to go through growing pains just like they had at the beginning of the year.

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