If Philadelphia 76ers fans were told before the season that James Harden wouldn’t be a 2022-23 All-Star, they would likely have thought that injuries have truly slowed him down and/or that he isn’t good enough to be a leading star on a championship contender. Instead, the Sixers star was simply snubbed despite a fantastic season and is in the mix for making an All-NBA team.
Joel Embiid leads the way for the Sixers but Harden runs the show, leading the league in assists and shooting the ball as well as he ever has. He and Embiid have teamed up to form a historic duo with Philly in a solid position to make a championship run. Harden has had to make adjustments to his game to pair so nicely with Embiid (and vice versa) but they have paid off handsomely.
Harden talked with Franklyn Calle of SLAM Magazine about his time with the Sixers, saying that he is still in his prime despite a shift in his role with Philly. On top of saying that he wants to be remembered as the “biggest innovator to play the game,” he called himself a student of it and a leader for this Philly team.
“I’m a master of this game. This is year 14 for me — I adjust to how teams are guarding us and I pick and choose where to facilitate,” Harden said, via SLAM. “My role on the Sixers is different from 2017. So yes, the approach is different, but I’m still the same player as 2017, my role just changed slightly.
“It’s a combination of the work I put in each summer, getting healthy and trusting the work when I am on the court,” the Sixers star continued. “I have been a student of the game and have been coachable throughout my career. This season, I have been tasked to be a leader on the court and to get everyone involved and still maintain my aggression. If I said it was easy, I’d be lying, but I am committed to do whatever I need to do in order to help my team win.”
James Harden has talked about winning — winning a championship, specifically — at numerous points throughout the season. Although there have been injury hiccups here and there, what he has done this season should inspire confidence that he can have a respectable playoff run that potentially ends with a ring.
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