The resurgence of James Harden
When the Philadelphia 76ers traded for James Harden just before the All-Star break in 2022, the power game in the East favored the Sixers. Everyone expected a megastar duo of Harden-Embiid to terrify the opponent’s defenses. Surely, the trade gave Philly an exquisite ball handler and scorer alongside Embiid. But the dreams were shaken when Harden actually took centre stage.
Harden shot around 40% from the field and averaged 21 points per game in 2022 for Philly. Both productions are the lowest since he left OKC in 2012. His playoff show was even poorer as he dropped to 18 points average with 36% shooting from the range. The connection expected was missing with Embiid and the team.
Many considered this a “downfall” of the Beard, but the franchise kept faith in him and his determination, handing him 2-years extension. A whole offseason with a new team did wonders for Harden, and now we are experiencing a more aggressive and efficient Harden on the court.
He has settled in well with the team, and his connection with Joel is proving to be a “game changer” for the Sixers. Master of on-screen scoring hits 1.67 points per Pick-n-Roll mark, the highest in NBA history. His decision-making is better than last season, his shooting is upped by 8%, and he is leading the league with nearly 11 assists per game.
It is not only his play-making helping the team to perform better. He has shown flashes of vintage Harden, scoring in 17 games with twenty-five or more points – and Philly won 12. So, James seems pumped up for his shot at the title.