Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden was not happy with how last season went for him.
He began the year on a Brooklyn Nets team that was supposed to compete for a championship. By midseason, it was clear that the whole franchise was in disarray and he demanded out.
Harden eventually landed with the Sixers at the NBA Trade Deadline, but the team failed to advance any further in the playoffs than the Nets did – or Philly had one season prior with Ben Simmons in Harden’s role.
In the aftermath, Harden proved to be very blunt and honest about where both he and the Sixers went wrong in 2021-22. He also pledged to do better.
This week, photos emerged of Harden looking very skinny. We are talking Chet Holmgren levels of skinny at this point. The visuals largely speak for themselves:
it’s a long story I been busy working pic.twitter.com/s67ob6x5Cm
— James Harden (@JHarden13) August 25, 2022
It feels like Harden has gone through multiple metamorphosis throughout this offseason. He started fat, become ridiculously muscular and now he is leaning out. Time will tell what impact that will ultimately have on the court.
The other thing Harden has seemingly committed to is partying a lot less. These days he appears far more content chilling with his girlfriend than he used to be in his younger, wilder days.
Never forget – NBA teams had to hire private investigators to tail Harden because the dude went wild so much.
And while Harden does still go out occasionally, like when he went partying with Rachel Nichols, it feels like a much rarer thing than in his heyday.
Fans noticed something different about Ayesha’s face. https://t.co/Nflhy6H6he
— Game 7 (@game7__) August 25, 2022
Harden understands that his legacy is on the line in 2022-23. The one major accomplishment that has eluded him throughout his professional career is a championship. If he doesn’t get it this season, with this squad, he likely never will.
Will Harden walk away with his first chip in 2022-23?
Time will tell.