It was announced on Thursday evening that star guard James Harden will finally debut for the Philadelphia 76ers tomorrow night against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Trade

It’s been a busy past few weeks for James Harden and the Philadelphia 76ers. Notably, a blockbuster trade shook up the Eastern Conference. Brooklyn dealt James Harden and Paul Millsap to Philadelphia. In return, the Nets acquired star Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, and draft capital. The deal represented a mutually beneficial outcome for two teams whose stars were no longer interested in playing for them.

Neither Harden nor Simmons have debuted for their new teams. For the 76ers, the star guard has been participating in team activities as well as traveling with them. But, Harden was sidelined throughout the All-Star break so that his hamstring injury could fully heal. On the other end, Simmons is going through conditioning in order to make his 2021-2022 debut. Additionally, it’s unknown if he is in the right mental space to lace up considering that was the foremost reason he desired a trade. 

What Harden brings to Philadelphia 

With the acquisition of James Harden, Philadelphia is expected to be a legitimate championship contenders. Harden will join forces with MVP candidate Joel Embiid. Obviously, they’re projected to be one of the best duos in the NBA. But, the big question is how quickly will Harden form chemistry with his teammates. With Harden’s elite playmaking, three-level scoring, passing ability, and court vision he’ll gel with the 76ers very quickly. Not to mention, James is a pick-and-roll maestro because of his on-ball gravity, IQ, and ability to pick apart defenses. On the other hand, Embiid is a dominant post scorer with elite footwork and shot-creation. Also, his gravity inside the arc creates many open looks for teammates. With that being said, a two-man game consisting of Joel Embiid and James Harden could be nearly unstoppable. 

On top of that, James Harden will serve as the floor general and create opportunities for others, which is something Philadelphia desperately needs. Plus, the Philly guard is one of the best shot creators and scorers in the NBA. This season, he’s averaging 22.5 points per game (on 57.6 percent true shooting), 8 rebounds, and 10.2 assists (second best in NBA). To boot, “The Beard” was named an All-Star for the 10th consecutive season. Obviously, Harden will have a tremendous impact on the 76ers’ offense and we’ll witness it tomorrow. 

The James Harden-Joel Embiid era kicks off Friday against the Minnesota Timberwolves at 8:00 pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia.