The brief pairing of James Harden with the Philadelphia 76ers has turned heads around the NBA. Since Harden was acquired at the NBA trade deadline last month, it's been a beautiful marriage as Harden has thrived with his new organization.
Philadelphia has hit the ground running since the All-Star break, currently riding a four-game winning streak. The 76ers (38-23) are in third place in the tight Eastern Conference race.
Harden has looked like the player of old so far, as he has averaged 27.3 points, 9.0 rebounds and 12.3 assists per game with the 76ers. Philadelphia is trending as one of the most dangerous teams in the East.
On ESPN's "First Take," analyst Jay Williams talked about how impressive Harden has looked so far with his new team.
"How the hell did he lose 10 to 15 pounds already? My man looks chiseled,” Williams said.
James Harden and the Philadelphia 76ers impressing
It didn't take long for James Harden to find his groove with his new 76ers teammates, and fans are fascinated with the new-look" 76ers.
Many wondered how Harden would co-exhist with superstar big man Joel Embiid. So far, the pairing has only made life easier for Embiid, who is averaging 32.7 ppg and 10.3 rpg while playing alongside Harden.
After looking like his play had taken a step back with the Brooklyn Nets this season, Harden has suddenly looked like a player who has found his groove again.
Time will tell how dangerous the 76ers can be in a competitive Eastern Conference that features so many tough opponents. For now, it looks as if the team has two of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the entire league.
Both of those players seem to be playing some of their best basketball. Philadelphia looks like one of the hottest teams in the Eastern Conference with their recent surge. The team trails the Miami Heat by two games for the first overall spot in the East.
Harden is on his third team in two seasons, but he has the ability to fit in. Elite scoring travels, of course. He's led the league in scoring three times. But he's been both an MVP (in 2017-18 with the Houston Rockets) and a Sixth Man of the Year (in 2011-12 with the OKC Thunder). His 27.3 ppg is his best scoring average since a league-leading 34.3 ppg in 2019-20 with the Rockets.