In just 3 games with the 76ers, James Harden has already made a huge impact. It’s very obvious how much easier Harden makes the game for Joel Embiid, who doesn’t have to work as hard with him on the court. Harden has seemed to make all of his teammates better thus far, even Tobias Harris who looks to be in a bit of a slump right now. Hopefully that’ll change soon enough and Harris can find his rhythm. The one player that seems to have benefited the most is Tyrese Maxey.
The 21 year old has fit right back into place in the SG position. The Sixers now have a true PG and don’t have to rely on Maxey or Embiid to bring the ball up the court. Maxey is best when he can set up for an open look or drive. With the attention that Embiid and Harden bring, it leaves Maxey wide open multiple times a game. The guard, mostly known for driving, is now shooting nearly 40% from deep this season which adds layers to his game.
Last year, a defender would be quite okay with Maxey settling for 3. Now, that isn’t the case. Maxey is greatly improved from last season and he seems to be getting better every time he’s on the court. In the last game against the Knicks, Maxey hit an absurd turnaround contested 3. When Harden gets the ball, he manages to find an open guy. Many times over the last 3 games, this has been Tyrese Maxey.
Not only has Harden set Maxey up for 3, but he’s also set him up for drives. The beauty of having such a great passer is being able to thread the needle when needed. In his first game with his Sixers, Harden already had a dime to Maxey from half court. We’re getting to see a more confident Maxey and defenses seem to not know what to do with him. In last nights game against the Knicks, Harden asked Maxey “why he wasn’t playing tonight”, and to wake up, afterwards Maxey was outstanding in the 2nd half. This is already proof of how good of a mentor Harden can be. Maxey is the perfect player for Harden to take under his wing. If Maxey can keep playing like this, he should be an all-star in no time.
The Sixers are 3-0 in the Harden era, and they are just getting started. The team obviously has a lot of work to do and room to grow. The good news is that there’s plenty of time for that. The chemistry is already great amongst most of the guys. For many, there’s no doubt that it will continue to get better as time passes. The Sixers should be in the talk for top contenders this season, as their 4th quarter offense is looking scary. There doesn’t seem to be a defense that can stop this new Big 3, and the best is yet to come. Let’s look forward to every other game in the regular season, and clap our hands for the new-look 76ers!