James Harden calling Joel Embiid the best big man in the league is like a new office worker telling everyone his colleague is the best and is excited to work with him. Harden buttering up is expected, but is Embiid the best big right now?
Harden knew Philly was the one
In his introductory press conference, James revealed he initially wanted to come to Philadelphia after his stint with the Houston Rockets.
“Originally you know when I was going through everything I was going through in Houston, Philly was my you know my first choice. It just didn’t happen. I just knew you know for a very long time this is a perfect fit and obviously, you got a big man the best big man in the league with Joel and then obviously the coaching from top to bottom it made sense and I'm just happy and blessed that I'm here.”
Embiid has established himself as one of the best bigs in the NBA, with probably Anthony Davis, Nikola Jokic, and Giannis Antetokounmpo giving him a run for his money. If Harden made Clint Capella look like an All-Star with their pick-and-rolls in Houston, imagine what his playmaking skills could do with Jojo.
The Sixers’ center has been playing on MVP level since last year, and this season, he’s a top fave to win it if Nikola Jokic dips in form.
The Daryl Morey connection
More than playing with Embiid and Doc Rivers, it was the Daryl Morey connection that compelled The Beard to play for the Sixers. Without Morey, there would be no James Harden. Instead, he orchestrated Harden’s trade to the Houston Rockets from OKC in 2012. Morey also signed James to one of the most lucrative deals ever, a 4-year $228 million extension in 2017. Their working relationship earned them an Executive of the Year and MVP award in 2018.
Even when Morey started working for the Philadelphia 76ers in 2020, he couldn’t stop gushing over his former star in Houston and was fined $50,000 for posting what appeared to be an automated tweet.
Daryl made sure to give Harden the money and the supporting cast he needed to succeed in Houston. It didn’t work, but maybe the second time’s the charm for both of them.