The Philadelphia 76ers are set to meet the Toronto Raptors in the opening round of the NBA knockouts, and they have a lot of expectations on them.
These stem from the mid-season acquisition of James Harden from the Brooklyn Nets, where the team dropped Ben Simmons, Andre Drummond and Seth Curry. The exchange has exhausted a large portion of the bench, but it paired Joel Embiid with a superstar.
There’s also the issue of Matisse Thybulle not being available for games in Canada, meaning he could miss up to three games against the Raptors as the series stretches to seven games.
Through all of this, James Harden says he feels no pressure. In an interview with Complex, the Sixers star said he has nothing to prove in Philadelphia.
“For me personally, I always wanted to go out there and play well and give in any way that I needed to contribute but for me it was going out there and playing my game, trying to help my team. I won,” he said. “I don’t feel pressure, I don’t feel any of that.”
While he may completely believe it, there are some members of the media who don’t believe it for a second. You might consider ESPN’s Tim Legler as one such person.
Legler is gone
Speaking on the April 14 episode of ESPN’s First Take, Legler’s belief that Harden had nothing to prove couldn’t be further from the truth.
“I can’t understand an athlete in that city, give his record and some of the things that happened to him in the post-season and go there with what the organization just went through with all the sets. the movie revolves around Ben Simmons, all they gave up to get him, going two thirds of a year without any other player in mind except this one, and a guy with an MVP season next to him, and you say ‘I have nothing to prove,’ he said.
Harden will likely be a Hall of Fame member, so he’s right that he has nothing to prove in that respect, but he still plays for a team that wants to take home an NBA title. That kept Harden in hiding throughout his career, and while his teams came close, he was never able to lift the trophy on his own.
“What do you talking about? ‘I don’t feel pressure, I have nothing to prove.’ Nothing could be further from the truth,” he continued.
This year also featured a number of games against the Sixers where Harden has struggled, and the team will want to avoid that as best they can if they want to take home the championship.
The road ahead is difficult
The Sixers have a tough road ahead of them if they want to become NBA champions. While they are prioritized to face the Toronto Raptors, not having Thybulle on the road could prove costly as he is the team’s best outfield defender, which could mean Fred VanVleet can run around. with the free reign.
At the end of the day, the Sixers are still the favorites on that series, and they’ll need to have James Harden fully engaged and engaged with the team if they are to continue to progress through the knockouts.
CONTINUE READING: Sixers’ Joel Embiid Shares Honest Opinion About ‘Reckless’ Raptors
https://heavy.com/sports/philadelphia-76ers/james-harden-tim-legler-comments/ Sixers star James Harden puts on Blast: ‘Nothing could be further from the truth’