76ers Rumors: James Harden's Lack of Aggression Not Concerning Team Officials

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVMay 4, 2022

TORONTO, CANADA - APRIL 28: James Harden #1 of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on during the game against the Toronto Raptors during Round 1 Game 6 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs on April 28, 2022 at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/NBAE via Getty Images)
Vaughn Ridley/NBAE via Getty Images

Philadelphia 76ers officials aren't yet sounding the alarm bell about star James Harden.

"Team officials aren’t concerned about his aggression level, feeling a breakout game is soon on the horizon," Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes reported Wednesday.

Through seven games this postseason, Harden is averaging 18.6 points, 9.4 assists and 5.6 rebounds while shooting 40.2 percent from the field and 36.6 percent on three-pointers.

This isn't an isolated trend.

The 10-time All-Star seemed to lose a step last year, in addition to battling a lingering hamstring injury. But his performance has continued trending downward and leaving the Brooklyn Nets hasn't sparked any sort of renaissance.

In 21 games since the trade, he's averaged 21.0 points, 10.5 assists and 7.1 rebounds.

StatMuse @statmuse

James Harden on the Sixers is averaging fewer<br><br>PPG<br>RPG<br>SPG<br>BPG<br>FGA<br>FG%<br>on more MPG<br><br>than when he was on the Nets this season, where he reportedly had quit on the team. <a href="https://t.co/ePJAQA3eaE">pic.twitter.com/ePJAQA3eaE</a>

Beyond the raw numbers, the 32-year-old has lacked his usual explosion off the dribble, which made him such an unstoppable scorer with the Houston Rockets.


.<a href="https://twitter.com/jj_redick?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@jj_redick</a> thinks we need to look at James Harden through a different lens ⬇️<br><br>“James has to be aggressive, but at this point James is primarily a playmaker and facilitator for others. … He is just not an efficient scorer.” <a href="https://t.co/0Na2DpuiNS">pic.twitter.com/0Na2DpuiNS</a>

Having the current version probably wouldn't sink Philadelphia if Joel Embiid were fully healthy. However, the star center missed Game 2 with an orbital fracture and a mild concussion, and he's playing through a torn ligament in his right thumb.

The Sixers may not be able to win if Harden is the primary star. In Monday's loss, he shot 5-of-13 from the floor for 16 points and had as many turnovers as he did assists (five).

Remaining optimistic about Harden is understandable from Philly's perspective because the organization doesn't really have much alternative.

But this entire season has basically been a case of hoping to see the old James Harden show up, and absent a big outing here and there, those banking on that outcome have been disappointed.

It's difficult to envision the postseason unfolding any differently.