The Process Finally coming together?
By: Jon S.
It may be an overreaction from a Sixers fan, but the Philadelphia 76ers look very good with James Harden. Since the trade, Philly is 3-0 in all blowouts, and Harden/Embiid are cooking together already.
Harden has been amazing, averaging a near triple double, topped off by his scoring 27 a game. While Embiid and Harden draw the focus from defenses, it opens up opportunities for other players.
For example, look at Tyrese Maxey. He was already one of the most improved players in the NBA during his second year. Since getting Harden, Maxey has dropped 28, 21, and 25. Given that he is now primarily off the ball, he has many more offensive opportunities. He will now get way more three-point attempts, along with more straight line drive opportunities.
The biggest issue with this team is Tobias Harris. He was looking very comfortable before the Harden trade, but now he seems to disappear on offense. Over time, I’m guessing he will adapt to the James Harden style of offense. For now, he remains the most overpaid player in the NBA. He needs to be able to shoot the mid range at high volume in order to succeed. That isn’t how Philly will look to run their offense, so it may be hard for him to get his looks. Nonetheless, his success equates to team success.
Another thing to address is bench play. Is Niang truly capable of being the 6th man on a contending team? Only time will tell. While they have a few good bench pieces, they have no true Alpha off the bench. Because of this, at least one of the four stars will need to be in the game at all times. If not, the bench will get carved up.
Through three games of the Harden era, Philly is now looking like a force in the East. Hopefully this is sustainable for the long term, as this team is very fun to watch. The rest of the East has surely been put on notice.