James Harden is the panic move the Sixers should avoid
Rumors have been swirling around Mike D’Antoni coming to Philadelphia to fill the Sixers’ vacant head coaching job. With those rumors, came rumblings that James Harden could be in the mix as a potential target for the Sixers. The talk amongst fans is that they think we can acquire Harden by trading Ben Simmons to the Rockets. This would allow the Sixers to pair James Harden with Joel Embiid.
What a terrible idea this would be. I can’t believe I even have to write this article. But here are for some reason talking about why trading Ben Simmons for James Harden and why it is a terrible idea.
James Harden is old:
James Harden is 31 years old. The initial reports suggested bringing James Harden to the Sixers when he hits free agency in 2022. Do the math. In two years, James Harden will be 33 years old. Think about the last time we signed a 33-year-old free agent to a long term deal. How’d that work out, Sixers fans? Not saying Harden is as bad as Al Horford but that deal can end ugly, and why the push to continue to get older?
Not every player is like LeBron James or Chris Paul. A fall-off in productivity is likely. Not a huge area of concern but it’s definitely not a good first impression if you were wanting to make this move.
Year after year, the Houston Rockets have been the odd man out in terms of competing in the NBA playoffs. Even when the Rockets had an opportunity to make some noise in the playoffs, James Harden completely disappeared when his team needed him the most.
Exhibit A: Game 7 vs Golden State
This is probably James Hardens best shot to bring home a title for the Rockets. LeBron James is carrying a ridiculously weak Cavaliers squad to the NBA finals and over in the West, Houston and Golden State are fighting out one final time to see who squares off in the finals. This team had Steph, KD, Klay, and Draymond in their prime on the ropes. The absolute best shot to make the final push.
Going into the 3rd quarter, Houston led 54-43 and a chance to pull away. Golden State went on a 33-15 swing and in that time, Harden shot 2/7 for 6 playing almost the whole quarter. The star for the Rockets scored 6 points. He ended on 2/13 from 3 and Houston lost by 9 and was eliminated.
Exhibit B and C: Lu Dort and the LA Lakers
The Houston Rockets were one of the teams to beat heading into the bubble. Things obviously didn’t go as planned in either series they played in. While Harden and the Rockets went on to win in Game 7 against OKC, Rookie Lu Dort smothered Harden in almost every game he was matched up against him. It was so evident, that when Lu Dort was not on the court, Harden shot close to 15% better than when Lu Dort was guarding him.
Lu Dort started last season in the G LEAGUE. “The Best Scorer in NBA History” couldn’t shake Lu Dort? That simply cannot happen.
Let’s jump ahead to the Lakers in the next round. In Game 4, the Lakers found themselves up 2-1 in the series. It was a must win game for the Rockets. Going into the 4th quarter, Houston was down 14 points. What did James Harden do? He did not shoot a single basket in the 4th quarter. Harden ended the game with 2/11 shooting and was completely absent when the Rockets needed him the most.
Do the Sixers really want to trade their 24-year-old All-Star for James Harden? They certainly shouldn’t. Ben Simmons was just named to the NBA’s All-Defensive Team and the All-NBA 3rd Team.
Ben Simmons is criminally underrated. On top of that, I don’t think James Harden even gets traded or comes to Philadelphia.
Twitter heads claiming it would be stupid to not move Simmons are looking through rosy glasses. These are the same people who praised “the process years” and would rather make fandom a social club than taking a look at this Sixers team and creating a rational opinion not based on emotion, but rather the cold hard facts.
James Harden has choked away every important playoff game he’s been a part of. Ben Simmons hasn’t been some type of clutch playoff performer either. I get that. We all do. In the Sixers’ most successful playoff year, Simmons averaged 14 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists per game. He shot a near 62% from the floor. If it wasn’t for some freak show shot in Toronto, the Sixers would have found themselves in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Harden also has about 6 more playoff appearances so it shows it isn’t a fluke on his end, this is who he is.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports