As the Philadelphia 76ers edge closer to the NBA Championship, one player has become a focal point of discussion: James Harden. Through his indomitable spirit and game-changing performances, Harden has proven himself a key asset to the team. This article delves into the “James Harden 76ers Impact,” examining his career trajectory and influence on the 76ers’ potential championship victory.
How Influential is James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers?
At the time of writing the Philadelphia 76ers lead the Boston Celtics 3-2 after a 115-103 win for the 76ers in Game 5 of the Conference Semifinals. It was a result that not only put the 76ers in pole position in the series but also right into the reckoning in the NBA Championship odds.
Whilst much of the post-game discussion has centered on Joe Mazulla’s failure to influence games and the Celtics porous defense, credit must go to one man in particular – James Harden. It was his remarkable 42 points in the 116-115 overtime victory in Game 4 that changed the momentum of the Semi finals.
In this article we take a closer look at James Harden and speculate as to whether he has the star quality to take the 76ers to their first NBA Championship since 1983.
James Harden’s Career So Far
It feels strange to have to write a brief history of a player who has been performing at an elite level in the NBA for over a decade now but it is needed. Despite his undoubted talents, James Harden sometimes flies under the radar when it comes to discussions about the best players in the league.
Harden started out with Oklahoma City Thunder in 2009 before spending the better part of a decade with the Houston Rockets. Whilst there Harden won a number of individual accolades including the 2018 MVP, but an NBA Championship eluded him.
In 2021 Harden moved to the Brooklyn Nets for a season before joining up with the 76ers last year where – fingers crossed – he could be set to end his NBA Championship hoodoo.
(Sit back and enjoy some of James Harden’s best-ever plays.)
What Makes James Harden Special
There is a strange set of criteria that exists in sports that seems to be completely absent in any other walk of life and that is the ability to completely write off the individual merits of a player unless they have the good fortune of being involved in a team that wins a major trophy or title.
The best example came last year in the world of soccer, when critics were eagerly waiting to write off Argentinian superstar Lionel Messi as a failure if he didn’t win the World Cup, a tournament held every four years with his nation.
As it was, Messi and Argentina did manage to win the World Cup, thus allowing everyone to recognize him as the greatest of all time which regardless of a World Cup title, he should have been recognized as anyway.
(Lionel Messi, unquestionably the most gifted soccer player to have ever lived, had to win the World Cup to be conclusively considered the GOAT.)
The best example of this phenomenon in basketball is the career of James Harden. He is unquestionably one of the best shooting guards in the history of the sport. He is not just a relentlessly consistent scorer; he also possesses a level of variety that allows him to score from almost every part of the court and in every in-game scenario.
He is creative and able to conduct the momentum of a game in a way that only the greatest players can.
Is Harden a Choker?
The one major criticism of James Harden’s career up until this point has been the disparity between his regular season performances and his playoff performances, or is it?
Whilst he has had more than his fair share of low points like 2015 against the Clippers, Harden actually has a very good playoff record. Over the past seven seasons he has averaged around 28 points a game in the playoffs and was part of the only team to really go toe-to-toe with the Warriors during their dynastic period.
Does losing to the all-conquering Warriors and having the odd moment to forget in a decade-long association with the playoffs make Harden a choker? Not in our book. In general, he has performed consistently well in the playoffs and this season he has taken that to another level.
(James Harden was sensational in this game.)
His performance in Game 4 was vital for his team, not only did it help them to go level with the Celtics at 2-2 but it absolutely destroyed Joe Mazulla’s men. The manner of his performance and the nature of the win have psychologically scarred the Celtics and given the 76ers the undoubted upper hand.
With the confidence of that performance behind him and – fingers crossed again – the NBA Finals to come, 76ers fans should be more than confident in Harden and his teammates to secure a long-awaited NBA Championship.
Final Thoughts on James Harden 76ers Impact
The “James Harden 76ers Impact” is not just a trendy keyword; it’s a testament to Harden’s potential in securing the first NBA Championship for the 76ers since 1983. With the momentum from his sports performances and the undeniable spark he brings to the team, Harden is poised to break his NBA Championship hoodoo, finally capturing the title he’s long deserved.