The Philadelphia 76ers, ever since their fateful defeat to the Atlanta Hawks in the second round of the 2021 NBA playoffs, have fallen on hard times. Ben Simmons was unable to recover from the infamy of passing up on a layup in the dying moments of Game 7 against the Hawks, leading to his eventual trade to the Brooklyn Nets for James Harden — someone Sixers fans believed would be a perfect fit alongside Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey, and Tobias Harris.
However, Harden evidently hasn't been the missing piece to the championship puzzle the Sixers front office is desperately trying to build while Embiid, the reigning league MVP is still under contract. The Beard went scorched earth this offseason, calling Daryl Morey a liar and effectively burning all his bridges with the Sixers franchise.
Now, with a future without James Harden looking more likely and likely by the day, especially in light of his absence from the Sixers' media day, other important members of the roster, such as Tobias Harris, are preparing for life without another All-Star point guard on the roster by focusing on the parts of the game that they can control.
“We just learned to control what we can control. Guys have been here working their tails off. … we've got each other here, and we're ready to go,” Harris said, per David Aldridge of The Athletic.
Even with this proclamation from Tobias Harris, Sixers fans will know that life without James Harden will be a difficult one in the context of their pursuit of a championship. Two Eastern Conference powerhouses recently upgraded their point guard situations, with the Milwaukee Bucks acquiring Damian Lillard and the Boston Celtics trading for Jrue Holiday both from the Portland Trail Blazers. So in the point guards arms race, the Sixers will have difficulties replacing Harden's production especially given his lackluster trade market.
Perhaps Harden's holdout binds the Sixers roster closer together, or perhaps with The Beard out of town, Tyrese Maxey takes a huge step into superstardom. Only time will tell how Tobias Harris and company adapt in the aftermath of what has been a trying offseason for the Sixers franchise.