Let's take a look at three reasons why James Harden was the perfect trade option for the Sixers and why he is going to be the perfect fit for this team.
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James Haden Sixers
3. Playing beside an elite big man
The fact that James Harden will be playing with perhaps the best big man in the NBA is the primary reason why he is a wonderful fit for this Philadelphia Sixers squad. The only other big guy to whom Joel Embiid can be compared is Nikola Jokic, but their styles are very different, and Harden is unquestionably a better match for Embiid than he would be for Jokic.
If Embiid and James Harden are both playing their best basketball, that pick-and-roll that they will be able to run will be virtually impossible to stop. This is arguably the best duo in the NBA, and it is without a doubt the best duo that James Harden and Joel Embiid have ever played with. Harden has played with some fantastic players, including perhaps the best player in the world, Kevin Durant, but because Durant is an outside scorer, James Harden wasn't able to get him engaged in the same manner that he will with Joel Embiid.
2. Daryl Morey is back
Given that they both partnered up in Houston, James Harden and Daryl Morey have a lengthy history of being together. There's no doubting that James Harden was playing the greatest basketball of his career in Houston. There were still some doubts about him since he couldn't seem to finish the job, but the fact is that it's not simple to win a title when you're up against the Golden State Warriors, who James Harden had faced several times.
Being reunited with Daryl Morey should provide some comfort to James Harden, allowing him to continue playing the best basketball of his career. Daryl Morey was waiting for him with his family as he stepped off the plane in Philadelphia.
This is a good thing for James Harden since it appears like Morey will be able to keep him in check, and if things start to go wrong in Philadelphia, Harden will always have someone to go to. Sean Marks and head coach Steve Nash didn't appear to have much power over the locker room in Brooklyn, and that will be different now that he's wearing a Sixers jersey.
1. Harden is under pressure, yet it may be beneficial pressure.
Look, there's no doubting that Philadelphia sports fans are among the craziest in the world. There are some of the wildest fans in professional sports, and they will let you know if you don't deliver. Everyone watched what they did to Ben Simmons, and it's shocking that it took so long for Philadelphia fans to be so upset with him. He should have been sent out of town a few years ago, but they continued to put their faith in the front office and Ben Simmons, hoping for the best.
There's also no disputing that James Harden will be under a lot more pressure now that he's on his third team in just two seasons, and if he doesn't win an NBA title, the media and fans of the Sixers will let him know. There's no reason he can't win an NBA championship this season, and if he doesn't, it'll be all over the media.
While he was in Brooklyn, which could be called a major market due to its location in New York, the fact is that New York City is a Knicks town. Nobody really cares about the Nets, and there wasn't a lot of pressure on James Harden in New York City. In Philadelphia, though, this will be the polar opposite because the Sixers are beloved by everybody.
It doesn't necessarily mean that the pressure he'll be under in Philadelphia will be detrimental. He understands that if he does not win an NBA championship in the next few seasons, his reputation would be tarnished. This may be beneficial to James Harden since he understands that he must play his best basketball and that these fans will want the best from him every night. While in Brooklyn, he had fans of his own team cheering for other teams and shouting MVP chants, in Philadelphia, he will never have to deal with such fans.
The spotlight will be on James Harden in Philadelphia, which isn't a terrible thing; all he has to do now is perform and do what he does best.