Stephen A.Smith said James Harden is done and is no longer looking like one of the most dominant players in the NBA.
James Harden is done
The Philadelphia 76ers had an opportunity to sweep the series against the Toronto Raptors in front of their home crowd yesterday, but that didn't happen, which means the series continues. Despite the fact the Raptors are shorthanded and struggling with unexpected injuries, the 76ers didn't capitalize on that, and it was James Harden who should have been more aggressive due to the fact Joel Embiid is also playing through a hand injury.
There was a lot of excitement among the Sixers fans after their team traded Ben Simmons for James Harden, and rightfully so. Removing a player that didn't play for one of the biggest superstars in the league was the right move to make, but it's a fair assessment Harden didn't make the impact everyone was anticipating.
One of those people is none other than NBA analyst Stephen A.Smith. Known for his controversial statements and sometimes ridiculous takes, Smith made a name for himself, but this time he might be on to something when it comes to his criticism of James Harden. Smith said Harden is done in the sense of being considered a top-tier franchise player in the NBA even though he is still a great contributor.
"James Harden looks done! And what I mean by done, he's not a scrub, he can still play, he can average 20 & 8 for you, that is not what I mean when I say he is done [but] the James Harden we saw in Houston, that brother is no more," says Stephen A. Smith. He is not getting the same level of separation as he once did. He hasn't been the same since that hamstring injury, and he doesn't look like he is fully prepared and healthy, and as a result, that puts even more pressure on Joel Embiid."
Harden will need to step up in the playoffs
If you've been watching James Harden play this entire season, you can definitely agree age is slowly but surely catching up to him. He is 33 now, and even though he can still impact the game on multiple levels, he is no longer the same player he was in Houston a few years ago. As it's popularly known, Father Time catches up to everyone sooner than later, and the same thing is happening to Harden now.
In the series against the Raptors, Harden averages 19.3 points, 9.8 assists, and 5.5 rebounds per game, shooting 32.1 from the field. Now that Joel Embiid is constantly double-teamed and banged up with injuries, it's time for Harden to unleash some of that same tenacity he had while in Houston because the Sixers will definitely need it for the remainder of the playoffs. It's also a good opportunity for him as a competitor to showcase he is still one of the most elite players in the NBA, capable of impacting the game and, most importantly, finally winning the first championship in his career.