Friday, December 2, 2022

James Harden Has Proven He Can’t Carry The 76ers

(Picture by Adam Starvation/Getty Photos)


After an up and down first spherical, James Harden and the Philadelphia 76ers superior to the Jap Convention semifinals.

Harden was good – 19 factors and 10.2 assists throughout 40.6 minutes per sport on 40.5% from the sector and 38.2% from deep.

He struggled in video games 2, 4, and 5, however had sturdy showings in video games 1, 3, and 6 to shut out the collection towards the Toronto Raptors.

Nonetheless, he didn’t have an ideal exhibiting in Recreation 1 of the ECSF towards the Miami Warmth.

16 factors on 5-13 from the sector, 2-7 from past the arc, and 4-4 from the road to associate with 9 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 turnovers.

Harden’s struggles in Recreation 5 of the primary spherical and Recreation 1 of the ECSF are significantly worrying as a result of they got here when Joel Embiid was hampered by a torn ligament in his thumb (Recreation 5) and not playing due to an orbital fracture and delicate concussion (Recreation 1).

“The Beard” was dropped at Philly to alleviate a few of the stress placed on Embiid to hold the offense.

Harden was imagined to make life simpler on Joel but in addition keep offensive effectivity when he sat.

To this point, that has not been the case.

Early returns from the playoffs and common season make it evident Harden can not carry the 76ers with out Embiid.


Harden Is Not The Participant He As soon as Was

On paper, Harden remains to be placing up spectacular numbers.

21 factors, 10.5 assists, and seven.1 rebounds per sport on 60.1% true taking pictures throughout 21 regular-season video games with the 76ers.

The numbers are down barely within the playoffs – 18.6 factors, 9.4 assists, and 5.6 rebounds on 57.7% true taking pictures – however nonetheless look strong.

Nonetheless, the attention check doesn’t again up what’s being written down within the stat sheet.

James doesn’t have the identical explosiveness he had again in Houston.

Whether or not that’s from his hamstring problem or simply getting older, it has become a problem.

What made Harden an all-time nice scorer was his capability to beat his defender in isolation and make a play.

He may both end on the rim, toss a lob to a rolling middle, or kick out to an open shooter.

Nevertheless it was all reliant on Harden with the ability to get by his man fully.

That has not occurred a lot with Philly and even when it has, his lack of burst has restricted his capability to complete within the paint.

Outdoors of 1 dunk in Recreation 6, Harden’s half-court finishes have consisted nearly fully of floaters and layups.

With defenses not fearing him like they as soon as did, he doesn’t appeal to as a lot consideration.

This has led to passing lanes closing and fewer open teammates.

Including this to his diminished effectiveness across the rim, Harden merely can not carry an offense like he as soon as did.


Superior Lineup Statistics

Whereas Harden’s particular person stats don’t paint a dire image, the lineup knowledge does.

Listed below are the lineup splits from the common season with Harden and Embiid on and off the court docket, all given in per 100 possessions:

  • Harden On, Embiid On: 1,214 Possessions, 124.1 factors, 108.4 factors allowed, +15.8 differential (99th Percentile)
  • Harden On, Embiid Off: 374 Possessions, 114.2 factors, 125.7 factors allowed, -11.6 differential (ninth Percentile)
  • Harden Off, Embiid On: 3,350 Possessions, 114.3 factors, 109.2 factors allowed, +5.1 differential (78th Percentile)

And listed below are those self same splits from the postseason:

  • Harden On, Embiid On: 371 Possessions, 121.6 factors, 106.4 factors allowed, +15.1 (ninetieth Percentile)
  • Harden On, Embiid Off: 150 Possessions, 110 factors, 118.4 factors allowed, -8.4 (twenty first Percentile)
  • Harden Off, Embiid Off: 66 Possessions, 112.1 factors, 124.6 factors allowed, -12.5 (eleventh Percentile)

A small pattern measurement warning exists on almost all of those splits, however they start to color an image.

And they aren’t good stats – the most typical Harden-only and Embiid-only lineups within the playoffs are each massively constructive.

However general it appears clear Harden can not carry the Sixers’ offense when Embiid just isn’t on the ground.

This isn’t a large indictment of Harden.

Anyone enjoying with out their MVP-caliber teammate will see a decline in play.

However Philly wants their star guard to minimize the dramatic swing when Embiid sits.

To this point, Harden has not been in a position to accomplish that.

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