Joel Embiid: James Harden Has Different Role With 76ers Than With Rockets

With the season reaching a disappointing end, Joel Embiid and the 76ers are left to look toward next season. What they are hoping for is more of Embiid and considerably more of James Harden, acquired from the Nets at the trade deadline.Joel Embiid James Harden

In the season-ending playoff loss against the Heat, Harden took just two shots and scored zero points in the second half. That wasn’t much different than what the 76ers received from Ben Simmons last season in a close-out game. Simmons, of course, was the centerpiece of the Harden trade.

But Embiid said the Harden who was a scoring machine with the Rockets isn’t the Harden the 76ers have today.

“Since we got him, everybody expected the Houston James Harden,” Embiid told reporters. “But that’s not who he is anymore. He’s more of a playmaker. I thought, at times, he could have been, as all of us could have been, more aggressive. All of us whether it was Tyrese (Maxey) or Tobias (Harris) or guys coming off the bench.”

So basically, it wasn’t just Harden. The entire team could’ve been more aggressive.

“And I’m not just talking about offensively. I’m talking about, you know, as a whole offensively and defensively,” Embiid said. “I didn’t think we were good defensively as a team. They took advantage of a lot of stuff that we tried to do defensively. And then offensively just really everybody being on the same page, obviously, only having probably what, three or four months to all work together and try to figure it out. Maybe it wasn’t a lot of time. … I don’t think we played our best basketball.”

He added that the Sixers’ inability to finish on a high note actually falls on everyone, from coach Doc Rivers to the guy at the end of the bench. Harden didn’t play well in the finale, but that hardly puts him all on him.

“Everybody’s got to get better,” Embiid said. “It’s not just, not just about me or [Harden]. From 1 through 15, there’s a reason why we lost to Miami. That means we all were not good enough. So everybody just has to be better.”

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