James Harden Will Feel The Heat Without Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid was already playing with a torn ligament tear on his thumb. Then, in the final minutes of Philly’s first series, he suffered a concussion and a broken orbital bone, which would keep him out until the 3rd round of the second game. This means the Sixers will need James Harden to turn the clock against the Heat.

The goal scorer who underwent a revolution appeared to be a recent phenomenon. In the first round against the Raptors, Harden scored just 19 points with 13.2 shots per game, the lowest number of goals he scored compared to what he did in Houston as he led the league with three goals, won the MVP, and was the team’s star. he made eight straight seasons. In those years, he scored 28.4 points on a 20.4 shot. He also exploded and climbed into the paint information than today:

The videos above are from the Harden season of 2017-18 as well as this year’s first series against Toronto. There is an obvious lack now in comparison with the time, which is also reflected in their calculations.

Harden is making up 33.3 percent of floats this year, down from 46.7 percent over the past four years. When Harden gets into the paint, he misses the rest he once had, and now he misses the first step as he drives to the kidneys. Second Spectrum follows a number called “blow bys” as the player moves to the edge. It’s in the name. During Harden’s last trip to Houston, he was shot by his bodyguard at 48.2 percent of his missions he tried to score. This season, it has dropped to 33 percent.

The color dots for that number have changed from general to All-Star. Even when it comes to the basket now, the 32-year-old is only making 48.1 percent of his car trips compared to 55.7 percent in the last four years. At this point in his career, teams are not as intimidated by Harden as they once were. He is not afraid when he is alone. Their safety does not need to provide solid support. And now Embiid, Harden’s safety blanket since he arrived in Philly, will miss at least two tough games and possibly more. That means the pressure will move to Harden to pick up the goods and pick up the Sixers. The question is whether they still have enough water to drain.

Harden is well known. Whether his downfall was due to hip problems, instability, or just years, he has changed his game to the way he is now. Harden passes the ball 68 times in a game, more than 15 in every game since he was with the Rockets, according to Second Spectrum. His scoring is much lower since he left Houston, but his assistants reach 10.5 as the Sixer gain approximately 7.7 as a Rocket. The fact that Harden is accepting the role shows that the next five years of his career will make him look like a real guard, which is exactly what the Sixers really need. Ben Simmons was their guard until the end of the game, when they turned into a non-bullet-proof shooter to connect. Seth Curry is the best in football, but not the leading man. Harden accepted the position, however. Apart from this, without Embiid, the Sixers want him to change for a while back to what he was before.

The Heat just forced Trae Young to change more than he shot in their first series against the Hawks. Erik Spoelstra confused the story, but Miami often changed many of the freedom fighters on the Trae regardless of what Atlanta had to offer.

The above drama was recently cited by Nekias Duncan from Basketball News as an example of Miami’s defense at its best: PJ Tucker forces the entire Court on Young, then through a series of football matches, Heat switch Ad Bamayo and Jimmy. Butler to him before he handed the ball. Bam, Butler, and Co. then there are Bogdan Bogdanovic and Kevin Huerter to force a return. Add a deep team of guards and wings, and Miami has top-level defense to solve any problems.

Harden will see a defense like this starting in Game 1 on Monday. During his regular career against Miami, Harden was the ball manager for 39 pick-and-rolls. Modified Temperature displays on 22 of them, according to Second Spectrum. Now Harden will no longer have Embiid to throw the ball back, however, he will be forced to isolate himself, which was the beginning of his game:

James Harden Isolations

weather Game Per Game Points on ISO
weather Game Per Game Points on ISO
2017-18 13.9 1.17
2018-19 21.5 1.17
2019-20 19.9 1.14
2020-21 11.8 1.18
2021-22 11.1 1.06

Harden is making 1.06 points in isolation, down from 1.14 four seasons ago. It’s just another number that indicates his return play.

With Embiid out, the light will shine brighter on Harden’s game and if he can carry goals, but the onus is on a much higher footing than him against the Heat. Tyrese Maxey, not Harden, fired heavily on Embiid’s side in the first line. Following his exciting sophomore season, his game was translated immediately into the playoffs, where he scored 21.3 minutes 42 minutes in the first half.

In general, Maxey excels at playing Harden and Embiid in outdoor running, cutting, and moving.

Maxey scored 25 points in a recent Philadelphia win over Toronto, repeatedly pulling 3 from the dribble and forcing the defenders to honor his shot. With more space to play, he struggled hard to get into the paint. And since Harden runs the show, he likes to be protected by a weak player. There will be many times in the Heat series when Maxey has to take the keys and make them his own.

The same goes for Tobias Harris, who deserves a bit of defense and a little defender like Max Strus or Duncan Robinson in this series, depending on the lines. The Hawks fed De’Andre Hunter against a handful of Heat players in the final.

For at least the first two games, we’ll see more Paul Reed on Philly’s list. Charles Bassey rehearsed Saturday with the Sixers, to be available as a reservation. Unless Doc Rivers decides to roll with former DeAndre Jordan, much to the annoyance of Philadelphia fans, Harden will work with two junior seniors in the selection process. Harden and Reed joined just 40 pick-and-rolls this season. Bassey and Harden never played together. Even Jordan showed Harden only 77 times. None of the pairings were co-workers.

Harden and Embiid made 1.15 points on pick-and-roll, a remarkable feat this season. Of the 35 combos that ran at least 500 pick-and-rolls, they were the first in the NBA professionally, according to Second Spectrum. Although Harden’s goals have dropped, the number serves as a reminder that while he is in good health, he is still one of the NBA’s leading scorers.

That’s why the Sixers found Harden. Running points. Last season, Embiid’s most frequently nominated teammate was Tobias Harris (7.8 per game). His most watery score with Ben Simmons came in 2017-18 with 4.9. And Embiid and Jimmy Butler entered 6.5 per game.

Harden brings a new dimension to Embiid, just as Maxey does. There have been questions about whether the Sixers will add Harden, who is eligible for four years, to a $ 233 million deal this summer. The club could pay him $ 61.7 million when he turns 38 in 2026-2027, to become an albatross on the line. But with Embiid’s production at the MVP level, there should be no doubt that the Sixers will re-sign their choice partner if they wish. He is still one of the greatest players in the NBA.

Harden has already expressed a desire to change his habits in court. Meanwhile, after Embiid’s departure, the Sixers need their astrologer to return to his old ways. They need to be a bucket. He wants her to be a Beard.

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