The NBA postseason is almost upon us, and annually you may pick just a few gamers which have one thing to show. Giannis Antetokounmpo did it final season (regardless of what number of breaks they obtained alongside the best way), main Milwaukee to the title, and LeBron James the 12 months earlier than when he led the Lakers to their first championship in a decade.
James Harden has probably the most to show in these playoffs amongst star gamers. You could possibly arguably say he’s had probably the most to show within the postseason for the reason that Houston Rockets, led by Harden, collapsed in opposition to the Golden State Warriors in recreation seven of the Western Convention Finals. While you’re one of the best participant on a group that misses 27 three-point makes an attempt, you get the blame regardless of what number of factors you scored individually.
For the reason that Houston days, we’ve seen Harden cease briefly in Brooklyn earlier than settling down in Philadelphia with the 76ers on the commerce deadline in February. Though Harden is not “The” man on his present group, he’s nonetheless greater than “only a man” for the Sixers. Harden is a former MVP and three-time scoring champion. Joel Embiid could find yourself being this 12 months’s league MVP. There isn’t any purpose this duo shouldn’t be favored to make it out of the East.
If the Sixers have any probability of getting by way of the Japanese Convention gauntlet, Harden must be a big think about that equation. And by that, I’m not simply speaking about him hitting his averages which can be essential. I’m speaking about making well timed photographs when video games are on the road, like on Tuesday evening in opposition to the Bucks.
Milwaukee battled again to take the lead late within the fourth quarter and was up by two with 5 seconds left in regulation. Harden had the ball in his fingers with an opportunity to tie or take the lead, and naturally, he jacked up a 3 that misses horribly, thus securing the victory for Milwaukee. Positive, Harden scored 32 factors on this recreation, however with sufficient time to get a greater shot, he selected to take a step-back three over the outstretched arm of 7-foot Brook Lopez as an alternative.
That kind of resolution in crunch time is why I don’t belief Harden when it issues most in huge video games. He simply hasn’t proven that he can come by way of and make the correct play most occasions in that scenario. Harden isn’t the chief on this group, however there can be occasions within the postseason when the Sixers want him to make a giant play, and he hasn’t all the time proven that he’s able to doing so.
Harden isn’t one in all these LeBron James, Michael Jordan, and even Kevin Durant kind of gamers we count on to win a number of titles throughout their careers. I don’t think about Harden to be a high 10-15 all-time participant, but when he needs to get wherever near that, he must win a title whereas he can nonetheless play a big function on a championship group.
Philly has the good guard and nice huge man components that we’ve seen win a number of titles up to now. In fact, the primary that come to thoughts are the Magic Johnson-Kareem Abdul Jabbar Lakers, then, after all, the Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant Lakers. These duos produced a mixed eight championships between them. No, I’m not evaluating Harden to Magic or Kobe. However he is likely one of the finest guards of his period. So, I don’t suppose it’s asking an excessive amount of for them to convey one title again to Philly. The Sixers have an incredible loyal fan base regardless of how wild they will get generally.
This squad may have at the very least a few years to point out what they will do, led by Embiid and Harden. But when they will’t at the very least make an NBA Finals look inside the subsequent couple of years, then the Harden expertise can be thought of a bust. Hell, something in need of an ECF look this 12 months, and there can be loads of criticism to go round.
The 76ers have to be in win-now mode greater than every other group. James isn’t getting any youthful, and we all know what occurs with him as soon as a scenario turns bitter in his eyes. And Embiid doesn’t really feel like his prime can be tremendous lengthy like LeBron or Kevin Durant.
If I needed to decide Philly or the sector within the east over the following three years (ought to Harden stick round), I’d take the sector as a result of it’s exhausting to belief Harden when it actually counts. We’ve seen him come up brief time and time once more. Now it’s time for Harden to point out us in any other case.