Prominent Analyst Makes Bold Claim on What’s at Stake for James Harden With Sixers

James Harden

Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images James Harden

With the Philadelphia 76ers recently making a trade for James Harden it’s clear the team has NBA championship aspirations. While the team was tired of the drama with Ben Simmons, they held on to him until they got an offer that landed them a superstar.

With Harden joining another superstar in Joel Embiid, expectations for the Sixers are sky-high right now. Some are also putting a lot of pressure on Harden.

The Sixers are Harden’s third team in two seasons after he grew unhappy with the Houston Rockets and Brooklyn Nets. He’s received a lot of criticism for the way he handled both of those situations.

Legacy on the Line

The amount of criticism Harden has received lately has made an impact on his legacy in a lot of people’s eyes. ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith is among those that believe Harden’s legacy is at stake.

“I think that James Harden’s legacy is on the line and I don’t mean that as it pertains to specifically this season, but in Philadelphia,” said Smith, “James Harden had better damn well help this team get to an NBA finals or he will forever be scarred because when you consider the greatness of James Harden, the fact that this brother went eight straight years averaging no less than 25.5 points per game, that he went for five straight years after no less than 29 a game, that the brother is a former league MVP that spent three consecutive years averaging over 30, 30.4, 36.1 34.3, during a stretch in Houston, considering his marksmanship, his ability to get to the basket, his magistracy in drawing fouls and things of that nature, being compared as as one of the greatest offensive players to have ever played the game of basketball in line with Kevin Durant, with the Michael Jordan’s of the world and others.

“Nobody’s saying better, but they were talking about him being in that category as an offensive player to now go to Philadelphia, after forcing your way out of Houston, then Brooklyn and to have Joel Embiid as your teammate, there is no question and considering what Daryl Morey gave up to get you, there is no question.”

ESPN FIRST TAKE | Stephen A reacts to 76ers say James Harden out through All-Star breakESPN FIRST TAKE | Stephen A reacts to 76ers say James Harden out through All-Star break2022-02-15T15:23:55Z

Harden has certainly already done enough to make the Hall of Fame. He won the MVP in 2017-18, is a three-time scoring champion, and is a ten-time All-Star. With that said Harden has been one of the most criticized superstars in the NBA throughout his career.

Championship or Bust?

Even if Harden were to win a championship it wouldn’t change a lot of people’s minds about him, but it might change some minds. The Sixers are a team that has had championship aspirations for years now but have come up short. If Harden can be the piece that puts them over the top it will at least make him a hero in Philadelphia.

The Sixers will have a lot to figure out and a short amount of time to do it in as they bring Harden into the fold. Only time will tell if Harden will be able to deliver for the Sixers.

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