After all of the rumors, chatter, questions, and drama, the Ben Simmons era is over in Philadelphia, and president of basketball operations, Daryl Morey, finally got his man. James Harden has officially been acquired by the Sixers in what has to be the biggest trade for Philadelphia since Moses Malone came from the Rockets all the way back in the fall of 1982.
Harden is coming to Philly, battling a hamstring issue, yet still averaging 22.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 10.2 assists per game for the season. He’s appeared in 37 games for the Nets this season, and while his points have dropped from his days of averaging 30+ per night, he is still a threat to do that on any given night.
The Harden trade does a few things for Philadelphia:
First, it gives Joel Embiid a true second star to play with. For all of the hype and predictions for how good a player Simmons would be, he never truly lived up to the hype and has been falling off from what looked like a promising start to his career. Harden gives the Sixers and Embiid someone with experience that can cause real problems for opposing teams. He’s a true star and one of the all-time great scorers in the NBA. Embiid now has someone that will scare opposing teams. He’s easily the most talented player that will have suited up next to Embiid.
Second, the Sixers rid themselves of the Simmons issue. Whether it was Doc Rivers, Embiid, the way Sixers fans treated him, or the mental health that he claimed, Simmons is now a problem for another team. There needs to be no more concern whether he’ll play, shoot or even show up anywhere that the team does. On a positive note, the Sixers fans will once again love Simmons when he misses some free throws, and everyone gets a free frosty from Wendy’s.
Third, the Sixers have been a good team this season. Embiid has shown why he should be the league MVP. Tyrese Maxey has shown that he was overlooked in the 2020 draft and is proving doubters wrong. The Sixers are now among the top of the Eastern Conference, along with teams like the Milwaukee Bucks. With the way this season has played out so far, the title seems to be up for grabs. The Suns, Bucks, Heat, and Warriors are all considered to end teams in their respective conferences, but the Sixers, currently 5th in the East, have been playing short-handed. Harden immediately fixes that.
With Harden’s arrival in Philadelphia, the Sixers have shown that they’re looking to win an NBA title, and they’re looking to do it soon. Embiid, being more energized with a new star teammate, should scare the rest of the league. With a fresh, young, and talented team, Harden is away from the injuries and drama that came with playing with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. He’ll be rested after this past week sitting out, as well as rejuvenated at the thought of competing for a title, something he hasn’t had the real chance to do since 2018 in Houston. That should scare the rest of the NBA, as well.