NBA playoffs 2023 – James Harden, the Philadelphia 76ers and a journey to change the narrative

James Harden, guard for the Philadelphia 76ers, stated that “sacrifice” has been the key to his success this NBA season. Harden has taken a step back from his usual scoring role to act as a facilitator, with MVP favorite Joel Embiid and young guard Tyrese Maxey taking on the scoring duties. Harden has made fewer attempts per game and scored less than he has in his previous seasons since joining the Houston Rockets in 2012.

According to ESPN, when asked if he could have made similar sacrifices at his peak with the Rockets, Harden’s former teammate, P.J. Tucker, said it would have been impossible. Tucker stated that “the only thing [Harden] has left is to win a championship.” Harden’s sacrifice has been a part of the 76ers’ success this season, allowing for Daryl Morey to reunite with Harden’s former teammates from the Rockets and acquire additional toughness and perimeter defense.

Harden and the 76ers face the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals, with Embiid doubtful to play in Game 1 due to a knee injury. Harden’s paint production has presented some concerns, with scouts stating their worry about his inability to create separation and finish when not drawing fouls. However, if the 76ers reach their ceiling and break through to the conference finals, it could make all of Harden’s sacrifices worth it.

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