The James Harden haters were bound to crawl out of the woodwork eventually. The first scorching hot take put the 2018 MVP on blast for being a selfish teammate with an unflattering history of “failed chemistry experiments.” Sure, the first two games have been a thing of beauty but buyer beware.
Harden and the Philadephia 76ers are still in the honeymoon phase, according to Ben Rohrbach. Adversity is lurking right around the corner. Keep the receipt on those clean-looking No. 1 Sixers jerseys.
Rohrbach wrote: “The pattern here is clear. The first two games of Harden’s Sixers tenure are the onset of his honeymoon phase with Embiid, but adversity lies ahead. It always does. The 76ers are Embiid’s team, Philadelphia is Embiid’s city, and that has never been Harden’s modus operandi. Ceding control would be a first for him, as would a trip to the NBA Finals, as would an on-court superstar relationship that stands the test of time.”
Who is Rohrbach? Good question. He has 7,881 followers and covers the NBA for Yahoo! Sports, per Twitter. Rohrbach appears to be a Boston Celtics fan with a history of defending Ben Simmons. And he doesn’t see the Sixers winning a championship with Harden who already missed the deadline to pick up his 2022-23 player option.
“The Sixers will tie [Joel] Embiid’s prime to an aging superstar with a history of failed chemistry experiments,” Rohrbach wrote. “It is a monumental bet that this one yields a title before it, too, runs its course.”
The latest Sixers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Sixers newsletter here!
Harden ‘Brooding Presence’ on Brooklyn Nets
Harden’s failed chemistry experiment alongside Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn lasted just 13 months. The Nets’ Big Three only played together in 16 games thanks to injuries and Irving’s refusal to get vaccinated.
According to NBA reporter Marc Stein, the relationship between Durant and Harden was so bad that the two players “were hardly communicating” prior to Durant’s MCL sprain in mid-January. Some thought Harden was faking a hamstring injury to stay off the court.
Stein wrote: “League sources say there were times before Durant’s injury that the two stars, for reasons unclear, were hardly communicating — followed by the chaos of the past few Durant-less weeks when Harden stopped connecting with anyone to passive-aggressively convey he no longer wanted to be there.”
Ben Simmons Not Ready for Nets Debut
Simmons is dealing with a back injury, coupled with his ongoing mental health issues, and there is no specific timetable for when he might make his Nets debut. Philadelphia hosts Brooklyn on March 10, a date Sixers fans were hoping that Simmons might show up for. He won’t.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Nets didn’t want to subject Simmons to what is sure to be a hostile environment against his former team. Back injury or not.
“One thing I am confident with, that won’t be his first game,” Wojnarowski told John Clark of NBC Sports Philadelphia. “They are not going to allow Ben Simmons to make his debut there.”