For as great as Joel Embiid has been this season, the past two games against the Warriors and Suns have shown exactly how important James Harden is to the 76ers not only this year but in the foreseeable future.

With Harden out, the offense has sputtered in ways it just didn’t before Harden’s achilles injury. Despite Embiid’s 46 point game against Golden State, the Sixers found a way to blow a lead in the fourth quarter and then the following night got outclassed by the Suns who were also on the second half of a back to back.

Embiid is great, there is no doubt about it but James Harden is the engine that makes the Sixers offense run. In the two games without Harden, the offensive game plan has basically been to give it to Embiid at the three point line and see if he can work his way to the basket. The Embiid-Maxey pick and roll game is not nearly as effective as the Embiid-Harden combo. The narrative that Harden is washed has been put to bed this season as he a key contributor in one of the best offenses in the NBA.

The Sixers are a lost organization if the rumors are true that Harden and the Rockets have mutual interest in a reunion. We have seen time and time again that Joel Embiid is only as good as his counterpart, and it’s not fair to assume he is going to maintain this level of play for the rest of his career.

If Harden leaves this offseason and the Sixers do not win the championship, the “process”, the Ben Simmons saga, all of it was for nothing.

The organization owes it to Embiid and the fans to do everything they can do to keep Harden in Philadelphia at all cost.


Photo via Yong Kim – Philadelphia Inquirer

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