It has been a busy offseason for James Harden and the Philadelphia 76ers, to say the least. Along with adding multiple depth pieces, the team also locked up its star guard at an extremely team-friendly price.
Harden is fully committed to winning, and his contract situation proved it. He took close to a $15 million pay cut so Daryl Morey could improve the cast around him and Joel Embiid. Without this sacrifice, the Sixers would not have been able to sign Danuel House Jr. and P.J. Tucker in free agency.
Now flanked by a more complementary group of players, Harden is ready to help lead the Sixers on a deep postseason run. Reporters recently caught up with the former MVP, and he sent a message that should get fans excited. “Another year to try and win a championship, Philly know how we coming,” he said.
James Harden Continues to Get in Shape
In recent years, the narrative around James Harden is that Father Time was beginning to catch up to him. After putting on a lot of miles in his career, the All-Star point guard appeared to be losing a step physically. Harden admitted that hamstring injuries suffered during his time in Brooklyn slowed him down, but he’s committed to improving his body.
All summer, videos have surfaced of Harden training endlessly this offseason. In some of the recent photos to hit social media, he looks like he’s in mid-season form already.
As expected, seeing the Sixers star looking sleek has gotten fans even more excited for this season.
Despite averaging 22 PPG, 7.7 RPG, and 10.3 APG, many said that Harden had a down year. With a full offseason of getting his body right, he is in a prime position to silence his doubters and critics.
James Harden Ranked Among Top Players in The NBA
His numbers might not be what they were during his time in Houston, but James Harden is still a high-impact player in the league. Instead of being the prolific scorer he once was, he’s embraced being an offensive maestro. In each of the last two seasons, Harden has been near the top of the NBA in terms of assists per game.
Even though critics think he’s beginning to slow down, some analysts still believe Harden is among the game’s top talents. In a recent ranking of the top 20 players in the NBA right now, the Sixers star landed in the 13th slot. One spot above him is Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler, while Minnesota big man Karl-Anthony Towns sits behind him.
Harden has a lot to prove as he enters his second season in Philadelphia. His career has been highlighted by incredible regular seasons followed by underwhelming playoff performances, especially in elimination games.
Harden has a perfect running mate in Joel Embiid. If he can’t get the job done with the Sixers, can he do it anywhere else?
In 12 postseason games last year, Harden averaged 18.6 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 8.6 APG. Between getting his body right and the work Daryl Morey did to improve the roster, all the pieces are in place for him to shine in 2023.