While last season appeared to be a down year for James Harden as he continued his battle with a hamstring injury, he has had quite the bounce-back season thus far. Harden again missed time early in the season as he was sidelined for weeks with a foot injury. While the Sixers began their climb back from a wretched start to the season, they could never find any real consistency without Harden and Tyrese Maxey. The recent success that the Sixers have seen since Harden returned to action has been sensational.

Harden’s Impact.

Since Harden returned from injury on December 5, the Sixers have gone 21-6, the best record in the NBA over this stretch. Harden’s impact has become very evident as we see his ability to control an offense night in and night out. The chemistry between him and Embiid has gotten much better, to the point of near perfection. Their pick-n’ roll has become unguardable, as too many options have a high success rate.

Harden has also seemed to get some of his efficiency back, shooting over 40% from three over his last 25 games. On the season, he is averaging 21.4 PPG, 11 APG, and 6.4 RPG. If Harden played enough games, he would be averaging the most assists in the association. He is also averaging over 21 PPG, next to the leading scorer in the NBA in, Embiid, who averages nearly 34 PPG. The balance they’ve found has been beautiful to watch, and both deserved to be named an All-Star without question.

The disrespect continues.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, as the disrespect in Philly continues to thrive in the media. A few days ago, it was revealed that Embiid wasn’t named an All-Star starter, despite leading the league in scoring and anchoring a top defense in the NBA. It was announced today that Harden wasn’t even selected for the All-Star game as a reserve. His performance is more than deserving of being selected, pushing the narrative that the media simply doesn’t like Philly. At the end of the day, the Sixers are the hottest team in basketball, and the disrespect can be outshined by success in the playoffs once the time comes. Well, it’ll never really stop, but the agendas will be much harder to push.

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