Former Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden wasted no time taking some parting shots against his former team shortly after being traded to the LA Clippers. Harden claimed that the Sixers “had him on a leash” last season. Harden’s claim is odd since he dominated the ball last season in much the same fashion that he did in previous seasons for previous teams, as the Ringer’s Kevin O’Conner points out.
In addition to having the ball in his hand more than MVP Joel Embiid last season, Harden also led the NBA in assists. Embiid himself contradicted Harden’s claims.
Then there is Harden’s assertion that the Sixers tried to make him a system player.
James Harden’s parting shots for the Sixers should be cause for concern for the Clippers.
Ignoring another untrue statement for a moment, Harden stating that “I am a system” might give the Clippers pause after trading for him. The Clippers didn’t acquire Harden to play the same role that he did for the Sixers last season. After all, they already have two stars in Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, making Harden LA’s third-best player.
There are going to be nights when the Clippers may need Harden to help carry the offense, namely when either George or Kawhi sits. But otherwise, he will have to fit into an existing system, like he claimed that he was forced to do last season. In fact, the Clippers may eventually need either he or Russell Westbrook to come off the bench given their questionable fit at-best in the Clippers backcourt.
The LA Clippers just acquired star James Harden from the Sixers and while he could help them, there are five ways trading for him could backfire.
If Harden believes that he was misused in Philadelphia despite dominating the ball and leading the NBA in assists, he may not be ready for a significantly different role in LA. In fairness to Harden, it’s clear that he was unhappy in Philadelphia, and who hasn’t had bad things to say about a former employer? Hopefully, he is ready to embrace a new role on a new team, though his parting shots for his former team do at least call that into question.