NBA Hall-of-Famer Issues Strong Comparison for Sixers Star James Harden

It may seem like a distant memory now, but once upon a time, James Harden won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award in 2012, back when he played for his first team, the Oklahoma City Thunder. Since then, he has evolved well enough to win a Most Valuable Player award in 2018 with the Houston.

Boston Celtics legend Paul Pierce used the Philadelphia 76ers‘ star’s rise from sixth man to MVP when talking about the future of Celtics star Jaylen Brown.

“Maybe Jaylen wants the opportunity to be ‘the guy,’” Pierce said in an interview on SiriusXM NBA Radio. “We’ve seen this for years as guys have left teams… think of James Harden. James Harden wouldn’t be James Harden if he didn’t leave OKC. Tracy McGrady wouldn’t have turned into ‘T-Mac’ or owned his own shoe if he didn’t leave Toronto. You never know. Maybe that’s on Jaylen’s mind or maybe he’ll stay.”

“Maybe Jaylen [Brown] wants the opportunity to be ‘the guy'”

Paul Pierce is not sure about Jaylen Brown’s future@paulpierce34 | @TheFrankIsola | @Scalabrine pic.twitter.com/VODUptlHqx

— SiriusXM NBA Radio (@SiriusXMNBA) March 24, 2023

Harden technically didn’t leave the Thunder on his own accord. They traded him to the Rockets in 2012 while he still had one year left remaining on his rookie contract. Nonetheless, having a bigger role on the Rockets led to him becoming a perennial all-star year in and year out for a decade.

Sixers Paying Harden Called One of the ‘Riskiest’ Decisions

Harden has a player option for next season, and it’s highly anticipated that he will opt out of it for a bigger deal this summer. While keeping Harden would put the Sixers in the title conversation, Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report explained why he believes doing so is not a foolproof decision.

“The Philadelphia 76ers should be losing sleep over the potential of paying him the max, even if it’s only on a two-year deal with a third-year option,” Hughes wrote. “A one-plus-one construction would mitigate the most risk, but there’s probably no such thing as getting Harden ‘cheaply’.”

Hughes said that because Harden is aging, he may not be worth keeping if he continues to decline.

“At 33 and playing for his third team in three years, Harden has a career trend line that is angling down. He wasn’t an All-Star this season for the first time since 2011-12, and his athleticism has nearly disappeared. Still a terrific passer and crafty enough to manufacture 20 points per game with ease, it’s not like Harden is without his uses. But even if he takes a small pay cut from this year’s reduced salary, he may not be worth the money,” Hughes concluded.

Patrick Beverley Says James Harden Copied One of His Moves

On “The Pat Bev Podcast With Rone,” Chicago Bulls guard and former Harden teammate Patrick Beverley claimed that Harden learned his patented stepback three from him during their practices with the Rockets.

“There was a time when he wasn’t even doing step-backs. We was playing… one-on-ones and s****, my first two years in the NBA, and every move I did, I finished with a step-back,” Beverley said, to which Harden would ask him, “Aye, P. Why you the f*** you always stepping back?”

When Beverley met up with Harden a year ago, Beverley revealed an exchange he had with his former teammate as Beverley asked him, “Remember when you told me why I keep stepping back?” to which Harden responded, “Yeah, you were onto something.”

Did Pat Bev start the step back revolution? pic.twitter.com/7UBjnZPn3m

— Pat Bev Pod (@PatBevPod) March 22, 2023

Harden and Beverley played together from 2014 to 2017.

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