James Harden had a tough year in 2021-22. Not only did he get traded for the second time in two years, but his impact on the court diminished significantly.
A lot of Harden’s woes last season were attributed to injuries and questionable conditioning.
This summer, the former league MVP committed himself to fixing that.
In photos that came out this week, Harden is looking the skinniest he has been in years. It is truly an impressive sight:
Skinny Harden ? pic.twitter.com/IVDEtaZoBq
— 76ers France (@FR_Sixers) July 24, 2022
Reactions to this new and improved version of Harden poured in immediately:
Yeah, Harden ready for a bounce back! https://t.co/t7O8uZ3rgr
— YouTube: The Monty Show —SUBSCRIBE (@TheMontyShow) July 26, 2022
Lets goooo https://t.co/cZkMSPTpyr
— RoroPC (@RoroPC_) July 25, 2022
The paycut hitting him crazy https://t.co/F6WEuDA4Xw
— 2KFIJI (@SRT_YOUNGBOY) July 25, 2022
=monster harden https://t.co/qRVKiNe1LN
— 𝙎/𝙊 𝙇𝙀 𝙅𝙀𝙐𝙉𝙀 𝘽𝙀𝘼𝙐 𝙂𝙊𝙎𝙎𝙀 (@over_diaz1) July 26, 2022
Harden averaged 21 points per game for the Philadelphia 76ers last season on 40.2 percent shooting from the field and 32.6 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Across the board those numbers were his lowest in a decade.
Beyond that, there was chatter of how he fit with Joel Embiid, why precisely his Brooklyn Nets teammates hated him so much, and whether he and head coach Doc Rivers could work together.
This summer, Harden has seemingly committed himself to silencing the doubters. He took less money to resign with the Sixers (though there are some conspiracy theories afoot about that), is hanging out with his girlfriend instead being out partying, and looks to be in the best shape of his life.
— Game 7 (@game7__) July 26, 2022
When Harden arrived in Philly, the hope was that he and Embiid could win a championship together. Time will tell if that ultimately materializes or not, but you have to respect the effort that he is putting forth at the moment.
Will Harden return to the playing level he was at during his time with the Houston Rockets?
An answer should emerge in the coming months.
Charles Kruger has been credentialed to cover two Super Bowls, four NBA Finals, and one World Series. A 20-year veteran in the sports world, he has sources spanning the NBA, MLB, NFL, UFC and NASCAR. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Calif., he is Game 7’s go-to source for rumors surrounding the Lakers, Clippers and Dodgers.