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Sixers’ Joel Embiid’s praise for new-look James Harden with Nets

Joel Embiid, James Harden, Sixers

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid may be jockeying against Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden in the MVP discussion, but, he doesn’t mind campaigning on behalf of the All-Star wing. At the moment, Embiid’s Sixers (39-17) lead the Nets (38-19) by 1.5 games atop the Eastern Conference standings.

“He’s had a big impact,” Embiid told ESPN Zach Lowe’s on The Lowe Post, when asked about Harden. “The way things ended in Houston obviously, it was unfortunate, but I see that he has been dominant, carrying that Brooklyn team, being a point guard, and doing what’s needed to do, especially considering he has had to change his game in a lot of ways. Going from taking all of 25-30 shots a game to just being a playmaker and actually being OK with it and actually doing a great job at it, I think he is doing a good job.”

Harden has shifted to more of a point guard role since linking up with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. In 34 games for Brooklyn, ‘The Beard’ has averaged 25 points and 11 assists per game while shooting 46% from the field and 36% from three-point range. He played his way into the MVP discussion, though a recent hamstring injury has forced him to miss the past six games.

Embiid is putting up 30 points and 11.1 rebounds per game this season, though a knee injury forced him to miss 10 games, hindering his MVP chances. In seven games since returning to action, the Sixers All-Star center has picked up right where left off, averaging 30.1 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game.