We are two games into the James Harden and Joel Embiid era in Philadelphia and it has been just as fun to watch as anticipated.
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) February 27, 2022
Harden has shown off his signature step-back shot multiple times so far and it looks just as automatic as it was with the Thunder, Rockets, and Nets. There were people talking after the trade about how the 32-year-old is past his prime and on his way downhill but that hasn’t been the case.
Harden looks rejuvenated since joining the Sixers for the first time on Friday night. He went on to become the first player in NBA history to score 25+ points and have 10+ rebounds in his first two games with a team, all but silencing those conversations about his decline.
The addition of Harden didn’t slow down the betting favorite to win the MVP either, as Embiid has put up 34 points and 37 points in the two games since the All-Star break. Embiid spoke to how playing with Harden has already helped his game. “That was probably the most wide open I’ve ever been in my career. I had a lot of easy baskets. I used to have to work for everything” said Embiid in a postgame interview.
It hasn’t just been Embiid and Harden though, Tyrese Maxey has become such a factor in the offense that all of a sudden, it looks like the Sixers are not just built to win this year, but for years to come. The three have fit together seamlessly, perhaps better than any Sixers trio we have seen in recent memory. All of a sudden the Sixers have a brand new window that looks to be more wide open than it has been since the rebuild.
Daryl Morey and company have figured out a way to get the Sixers from running out Al Horford, Josh Richardson and a point guard that refused to shoot that will remain nameless, to not only the best duo in the NBA but one of the best trios.
In the two games the Sixers have played since the All-Star game, they have put up 133 and 125 points and have kept their foot on the gas pedal which is something they have obviously struggled to do in the past.
On paper, the Sixers are right up there with the favorites of the Eastern Conference like the Nets and Bucks. The defending Eastern Conference champions looked to be in the midst of a lost season, but that is no more. If they continue to play at this level, they will certainly give those other teams a run for their money not only in the East but in the playoffs.
The Process has been hard on all of us, and just when we thought it was dead the Sixers went out and got one of the best players in the NBA to pair with their superstar. For the first time since 2019, the Sixers are fun again. Sit back and enjoy the ride.
Photo via NBC Sports Philadelphia