James Harden might want to destroy film of Game 6 before his contract negotiations
We don’t need to relitigate this. James Harden did play to the caliber that Philadelphia — or Brooklyn, for that matter — expected of him.
After the Sixers were eliminated from the postseason, Philly’s Joel Embiid said exactly that. Both teams expected the Harden from Houston, and what they got was something completely different.
Harden lacked considerable burst and explosiveness this season, and his ability to finish at the rim was comparably dreadful relative to years past. However, the red flags were even more concerning during the elimination game on Thursday night.
Harden finished the game with just 11 points (including none in the second half) and 4 turnovers. ESPN’s Tim Legler offered a breakdown of the poor possessions, and — oh boy — it’s nightmarish for Harden. The guard will have a contract negotiation coming up, and it’d be best if no one saw this:
Tim Legler breaking down James Harden’s turnovers pic.twitter.com/3ReJ5m1L8X
— pickuphoop (@pickuphoop) May 13, 2022
Legler is an expert on the x’s and o’s, and he offered a brilliant analysis of exactly how and why Harden made mistakes with the ball in his hands down the stretch.
During the first possession clipped in the video, we saw Miami’s Bam Adebayo intercept an ill-advised pass by Harden. There were several issues with the play, but the biggest was a lack of speed and effort.
Adebayo is a big man who has guard-like skills, but the fact that Harden was unable to chase down a frontcourt player who was moving with the ball in his hands should raise some eyebrows. This also reflects poorly on the long-term overall trajectory of Harden’s athleticism.
The second possession that Legler showed is an equally rough watch. The former MVP is still regarded as a crafty playmaker, but his ballhandling was rough against the Heat. Without on-ball skills, there isn’t much to love about his game.
When it comes to Harden’s contract negotiations, if Legler saw these issues, folks in Philly’s front office did as well. That’s … really not good.