The Philadelphia 76ers pulled off the biggest deal of the NBA Trade Deadline when they acquired James Harden from the Philadelphia 76ers.
Initially, the move paid massive dividends.
Philly won its first four games that Harden played in and everything was peaches. Then came the inevitable losses. From March 7 to March 14 the Sixers lost two of the four games they played – including an absolute shellacking at the hands of the Brooklyn Nets.
While they have since bounced back with victories against the Cleveland Cavaliers and Dallas Mavericks, this group has some weaknesses that need to be addressed.
One in particular? Harden lack of aggressiveness when he plays alongside Joel Embiid. Head coach Doc Rivers said this much last week, and Harden himself acknowledged it this week. It’s a struggle he needs to overcome.
“It’s been great, but I still need to be aggressive,” he said after the Mavericks game, per The Philly Voice. “I think tonight was a sign of that. I still need to be in attack mode and look to score the basketball because that’s what I do. Just trying to find a balance like I’ve talked about before. When to be a playmaker.
“I think tonight, especially in that fourth quarter, me attacking, the playmaking ability is going to come because we got lobs, we got threes. So that’s going to come with my aggressiveness. You got to just read the game.”
Specifically, Harden seems to understand that it’s his job to figure out when to be aggressive next to Embiid.
“It’s definitely a switch, but you got another guy right now who is leading the league in scoring on my team,” he continued. “Night in a night out, he is used to and confident of getting buckets, and that’s what my job is. Then, scoring the basketball.”
It will be interesting to see how the dynamic between Harden and Embiid develops. There’s a reason why Harden wasn’t Embiid’s first choice in teammate. The pair seems to be all good now, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that Harden’s now-former Nets teammates absolutely despised him. Same with his ex-Houston Rockets teammates.
The photos speak for themselves. https://t.co/sLXvYusTC3
— Game 7 (@game7__) March 20, 2022
There’s a clear pattern there.
Hopefully at some point Harden and Embiid will officially get on the same page. But if they don’t, and should things not work out in Philly, it also wouldn’t be all that shocking to see this relationship go up in flames just like all of Harden’s other ones have.