James Harden ended up making just 21 games with the Philadelphia 76ers last season. He came on the trade deadline and needed a step up from a nagging hamstring injury. Harden’s integration was a quick chemistry experiment.
Sometimes things went well, other times they exploded. But no one could argue that Sixers’ offense seemed choppy at times with Harden on the floor. Now the 10-time All-Star is getting a full bootcamp to better learn Doc Rivers system while building Much needed chemistry With Joel Embiid. Everyone has tournament goals.
Embiid recently appeared on Podcast “The Old Man and the Three” With JJ Riddick. The runner-up told his former teammate how difficult it was to get to the same page during 21 test matches. Embiid also discussed how he had to develop his own game to fit Harden’s strengths. This is part of that conversation:
When he first came, I don’t think we talked much about basketball. I just knew it would make me better, and I would make it better, and I already knew that. You must have liked my game to sacrifice a little bit. Obviously I’ve been a heavy post and since we got it I hardly post these days. I either put up screens or roll into the basket or try to present plays to my colleagues and publish them here and there.
But I felt like this was the best way for us to get better, and we only had, and we just played, what? 20 games together? Like, that’s not much. And, you know, to be able to win the championship, to build a team and just play 20 games together, it’s like it’s hard. It’s going to take some time, and it’s not just about me and him. It’s also about finding chemistry with everyone else and putting it together. Difficult. That’s why some games look great, and some don’t.
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I didn’t know the hard trade happened until it happened
Some people thought Embiid was lobbying for the Sixers to trade for Harden. No, it wasn’t. The All-Star Center said he wasn’t aware of it until his phone started exploding on the day it happened: February 10, 2022.
“I thought it would probably happen in the summer, just because of everything that was out there,” Embiid said. “And because of Daryl’s relationship since their days in Houston, so I thought this was something to watch. But until it happened, I just felt like there was no way. It wouldn’t happen. And when it happened, I remember we had practiced, and I was going home and my phone started going off. I was just like, “Wow, Daryl got what he wanted.”
Do Sixers fans really hate Ben Simmons?
The messy divorce between diva guard Ben Simmons and the Sixers needs no reworking. Everyone, from the US to Australia, knows how it happened.
But Embiid shed some light on the way Simmons was viewed by Philly believers. He believes Simmons’ inability to grow as a shooter – and listen to what Sixers fans have told him – was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
“I think he did [embrace the fans]. I think it was more that they didn’t feel heard. “How much they wanted him to shoot the ball,” Embiid said. “So, I think they felt like he had been here for a long time and there were no changes. That whole thing started about getting everyone angry. I think he hugged them. I feel like cuddling them.”
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