Over the past year, the narrative around Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden is that he is beginning to lose a step physically. Approaching his mid-thirties, many criticized the former MVP for not looking like the player we grew accustomed to seeing.
Harden dealt with hamstring injuries during his time with the Brooklyn Nets, resulting in his game slowing down a bit. Despite this setback, he still managed to be a high-impact player. While being intergraded on the fly, Harden averaged 21.0 PPG, 7.1 RPG, and 10.5 APG in his first stint with the Sixers.
Having been in the league for some time now, Harden knows how to block out all the negative noise around him. That being said, he is well aware of the slight dip in his game. In a recent interview with Beth Harris of The Associated Press, the All-Star guard opened up on the nagging injuries that have affected him. Harden admitted his confidence took a hit, but his body and mind are ready to return to form this upcoming season.
I wasn’t able to get in my spots and get to where I needed to get to without thinking about it, so that right there slowed my confidence down, he said. It was craziness, but I’m finally back. I’ll be a lot more aggressive scoring-wise just because my body allows me to.
James Harden Says His Health Remain Top Priority
The main focus for James Harden this offseason is helping put the Sixers in the best position to compete for an NBA title. Along with taking a massive pay cut to help Daryl Morey improve the roster, he has put in countless hours to make sure his body is right heading into this season. During an interview with Haute Time, Harden expressed that getting back to his old self from a physical standpoint is his top priority.
I’ve had the luxury of not having to deal with any serious injuries — with surgeries or whatnot — my entire career. But these last two years, I’ve been dealing with some hamstring issues, which are nothing to play with. So I’m taking this summer as an opportunity to do something for me, to make sure that I get back to the elite level that I know I can be at and that I will be at, he vows. So that’s priority No. 1. Basketball is the engine that drives everything
Kendrick Perkins Applauds James Harden for Offseason Efforts
Since it came out that James Harden has whole-heartedly put the Sixers’ needs above his own, many have been quick to applaud him. Kendrick Perkins went on ESPN’s ‘First Take’ and credited him for backing up his words with action.
“See I’m a person that don’t wanna hear words or hear a player talk about it. His actions are actually speaking,” said Perkins. “He’s been working his behind off. So yes, James Harden is proving that he’s all in, he’s proven he’s lost himself in the team, and I do think he will come back a better version than what he did last season in the postseason.”