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Georges Niang praises James Harden for adjusting his game for Sixers

By Ky Carlin,

2023-03-15
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Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

CAMDEN, N.J. — The Philadelphia 76ers acquired James Harden at the 2022 deadline looking to add an elite scorer and rebounder to pair with Joel Embiid and lead the Sixers to their first championship since 1983.

They have a very good chance to achieve that goal in the 2022-23 season as Harden and Embiid have achieved perfect synergy. Embiid is leading the league in scoring (33.4 points per game) while Harden is leading the league in assists (10.8 apg).

Harden is no longer the ruthless scorer he once was. While he has shown flashes of being able to score a bunch, as against the Milwaukee Bucks on March 4, his main role on this team is to be a playmaker and be sure everybody is in the right spots to succeed.

“I think when he first got here I was thinking how he’s a basketball savant,” Georges Niang said of Harden. “I just think the way he thinks the game is so unique, and James doesn’t get enough credit for evolving his game. Obviously, when he came in last year, it was like scoring, point guard and now he’s completely bought into being just completely unselfish and getting everybody else shots and getting everybody else in their spots.”

Then there’s that game against the Bucks earlier in March when he scored 19 points in the fourth quarter, 38 for the game, and led the Sixers to a win with his scoring ability.

“Then you see in the Milwaukee game, he also was like, ‘I’m capable of putting us on his back and, and scoring a ton of points to help us win.’” Niang continued. “So it’s been remarkable to see someone of that caliber can be humble.”

It isn’t like Harden is playing second fiddle to Embiid. This is Embiid’s team, but The Beard has tricks up his sleeve to help the Sixers win. It has been intriguing to see the transition he has made as a player.

“I don’t want to say take a backseat because he and Joel kind of go back and forth and like, who can score and then who can draw attention and pass, but I just think it’s a credit to him and how bad he wants to win to know that what the team needs is more important than personal goals,” Niang finished. “You rarely find that in this day and age and then in the sport.”

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