James Harden has been having an outstanding bounce-back season after an inconsistent year in 2022. Harden was dealing with a lingering hamstring injury all of last season and he finally appears to be healthy again. He has played his role to perfection alongside Joel Embiid this season and he hasn’t been getting his flowers thus far.
For starters, Harden is leading the league in assists by a decent margin with 10.8 per game. The next closest player is Tyrese Haliburton with 10.4. Playing alongside the NBA’s leading scorer in Embiid, the two have created a chemistry like no other. While Embiid is getting MVP consideration and is now the betting favorite to win the award, Harden was snubbed from the All-Star game.
Granted, Embiid was snubbed from being a starter, but at least he was recognized on some level. Harden has a huge impact on the 76ers that goes unnoticed by the average fan. Since December 5 (his return), the Sixers have the best record in the association. This is Embiid’s team and there’s no doubt he’s the most important player on the roster, but you have to give credit where credit is due.
Harden is averaging 21.9 PPG, 10.8 APG, and 6.2 RPG on 45/40/87 shooting splits in 51 games this season. However, so in March, Harden has averaged 23.9 PPG, 11.3 APG, and 6.6 RPG on 45/42/89 shooting splits. It appears Embiid and Harden are building success off each other, generating a surplus of success for the team as a whole. Despite this recent hot streak for Harden, there’s been very little talk about it. With the spotlight rightfully on MVP, Harden has went under the radar. The Sixers have been on a six-game win-streak and are looking to extend it to seven against the Charlotte Hornets. It’s very possible they can extend the win-streak to double-digits as their next few games are against sub-.500 opponents.
If the Sixers continue to finish out strong, we could see Harden get an All-NBA nod despite missing the All-Star game. He’s still a superstar in this league whether or not everybody wants to give him credit. He more than proved that to be true against the Milwaukee Bucks as he finished with 38 points, 10 assists, and nine rebounds in a come-from-behind win.
Either way, this team seems to feed off disrespect as any Philadelphia team will. Hopefully they’ll shut everyone up come playoff time and Harden’s talents will be on full display on the brightest stage.