James Harden joins Sixers legend in prestigious club following hot start to season
Dating back to the offseason, James Harden was one of the biggest topics of conversation in the basketball community. After a brief first stint with the Sixers, the former MVP opted out of his player option and took a $15 million pay cut to help the front office bolster the supporting cast around him and Joel Embiid.
On top of this selfless act, Harden trained vigorously in the offseason to prepare for his first full season with the Sixers. Previous hamstring injuries hindered the All-Star guard’s play at times, and he wanted to be 100% physically heading into the 2022-23 campaign.
Through the first handful of games, the work seems to be paying off for the Sixers star. Currently, he is averaging 21.8 PPG, 7.3 RPG, and 10.0 APG. In the team’s most recent win over the Washington Wizards, Harden tied a career-high by dishing out 17 assists.
Following this playmaking masterclass, he now leads the entire league in total assists with 80. Harden also joins Johnny Dawkins and Sixers legend Maurice Cheeks as the only players in franchise history with 80+ assists through the first eight games of the season.
James Harden continues to silence his critics
Over the past two years, the narrative around the ten-time All-Star is that Father Time is starting to catch up to him. However, he has managed to quickly silence his critics with his impressive start to the year.
It goes without saying how crucial it is for the Sixers to see Harden perform like this. They sacrificed a lot of assets to bring him in, and hope to see a championship as their return on investment. His ability to seamlessly flow between scorer and facilitator is a great sign as he prepares to lead the charge next to Embiid.
This impressive playmaking feat is also a testament to the work Daryl Morey put in to be a more complementing cast around his star duo. With a group of willing and capable shooters on the outside, it would not be surprising if the 33-year-old goes on to lead the league in assists this season.
Mandatory Credit: CBS Sports