Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency by Getty Pictures
James Harden believes the sphere about his play last season used to be overblown.
The Philadelphia 76ers guard spoke to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports over the weekend and stated that his “down” season nonetheless would fare comparatively successfully to a quantity of stars around the league.
“I create no longer genuinely hear to what folks are asserting. I wasn’t lawful last season and I nonetheless almost averaged a triple-double,” Harden stated. “If any one else had those numbers, we’d be talking about them getting the max. Folks had been aged to seeing me averaging 40, 30 parts, and so that they considered it as a down year. I used to be in Philadelphia for a pair of months and I had to be taught on the fly. That’s lawful what it used to be. I’m in a staunch jam bodily and mentally lawful now, and I’m lawful waiting for subsequent season.”
Harden averaged 21.0 parts, 10.5 assists and 7.1 rebounds in 21 widespread-season games with the Sixers after a midseason exchange from the Brooklyn Nets. These numbers dipped to 18.6 parts, 8.6 assists and 5.7 rebounds within the postseason, with Harden clearly struggling along with his off-the-dribble burst.
The 2018 NBA MVP handled lingering hamstring disaster all by the 2021-22 season, which first cropped up all by the 2021 playoffs in Brooklyn. He came into camp at less-than-ideal shape and used to be by no manner ready to play himself again into peak make.
The muse of the sphere shall be Harden’s age. He had proven as much as camp above his odd taking half in weight earlier than nevertheless had been ready to swiftly gather himself into equipment once the widespread season started. As he approaches age 33, his body might presumably well just no longer be responding as swiftly as it did within the previous.
Harden has been clearly dedicated to getting himself in peak make for subsequent season, with the goal of a deep playoff mosey in mind. He’s moreover made a financial commitment, taking a big pay slice on his 2022-23 wage to give the Sixers the cap freedom to trace PJ Tucker and Danuel Condo.
“I contemplate we non-public now a substantial deeper group,” Harden stated. “That’s something we wished to address. Whereas you peep at our group now, we’re positioned to head lots extra. I fancy how we stack up with the leisure of the discontinue teams.”
If Harden shows up in peak shape and is ready to recapture his top level, he and Joel Embiid arguably make the NBA’s top one-two tandem. Along with adding depth and toughness to the roster, that needs to be adequate to gather the Sixers on the shortlist of NBA Finals contenders.