James Harden, Joel Embiid, Lauren Hogan discussed on The Crossover NBA Show with Chris Mannix

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Your favorite podcast app. Get ready to laugh and learn. I am flaming road. I am. He cashed a check, she made the money we spend it. And along with my co host, Lauren Hogan, laugh and learn is a weekly podcast bringing you the latest headlines, keeping you informed, inspired and entertained. You never know what you're going to hear, especially with my mouth. Listen and subscribe on the black effect podcast network. I had radio app or wherever you get your podcasts. All right, let's turn for a minute to James Harden, who made his debut with the 76ers over the weekend, played brilliantly in these two games, averaged 28 points into game shot 57% from the floor, shot 57% from three, handed out 14 assists per game over these next two. Granted, it was against the Timberwolves and the woebegone New York Knicks, but it was impressive. So I want to go kind of go first here though, Howard, because I'm not surprised, right? I've been saying every time we talk about this or I write about this, that the next three months or four months. However long it goes for James Harden this season. Are going to be great for Philadelphia. Why? Because you have a motivated James Harden out there on the floor. He's motivated by people criticizing him for how it ended in Brooklyn. He's motivated about being a good teammate. Someone that can find a way to mesh his talent with Joel embiid to mesh his skill set with tyrese maxi to be a leader out there on the floor. The next few months are going to be the very best of James Harden. And on top of it all, if he does all those things, there's a pot of gold at the end of that proverbial rainbow. There is a equivalent of a 5 year contract, or a four year extension, whatever it's going to be for more than a quarter of a $1 billion waiting for him. So I expect James Harden to be the a plus plus version of himself of these final few months of the season. What's always worried me is what happens when James Harden gets that bag. What happens next year when you get into the dog days of January and February and Joel embiid is putting his hand up for a post pass and James Harden dribbles the ball 18 seconds on the perimeter. What happens when Joel embiid, who is not known for keeping things to himself, either on the floor with his body language or afterwards in postgame interviews, says something that irritates James Harden. We have seen James Harden, effectively detonate two franchises in the last 14 months. Houston, he, I think he was on sturdier ground there to do that because he'd been there a long time and that team was clearly on the decline. Brooklyn though, it's all better roses, that first year, our first half year, however long he played there, and then when the going got tough, James Harden literally got going. Say, you know what? I'm not doing this. I'm not feeling this. And force his way to the Philadelphia 76ers. So I'd be, I wouldn't be scared at all about the rest of this season. I think he's gonna be great. I think next year, if you give him that quarter of a $1 billion contract, you should be worried week by week about what happens when things get a little bit rough. Well, maybe things won't get rough. I mean, I think that's the gamble here is that, yes, when things go sideways, James Harden checks out. We've seen it happen enough times to know that that's a risk. And we should not base too much on these first two games as you know, not exactly the highest caliber of competition. They've got some tougher games coming up, and we'll see how that goes. But things could not have gone better in the first two games of the James Harden Joel embiid era of the Philadelphia 76ers. Could not have gone better. Both guys thrived. They look great. They play great. Day one, and then there's this. Like, how about, I'm going to read these composite numbers for the last two games. 24.5 points per game, 4.5 rebounds per game on a shooting percentage of field goal percentage of 6 6 7. That's not embiid and that's not hardened. That's tyrese maxi, the guy who, if you were a critic of this trade or concern trolling the trade, it was maxis had this breakthrough year. How is he going to function when all of a sudden the poll is not in his hands and he doesn't have control of the tyrese maxi is like kicking serious ass and like 12 or 16 one game 8 for 14 from the field and next. And that was a legitimate basketball analysis concern, right? How's this going to impact this really good young players emerging? I mean, he's been fantastic, even better than he was before. So I really like things could not be going better. So you're right, Chris, as long as things are good, and in the near term, while they're trying to pull this together for a championship run in the near term. Everybody's going to be on their best behavior. I think it's legitimate to wonder what happens down the road if embiid and harden are not on the same page or if there's a game or a series of games where somebody is do it a little too much and they get but Hardin's also at a point in his career where and look, I believe like not everybody, not every superstar wants to win at the highest level as badly as the others. Some do some do a little bit, some do a lot, some that's all they ever think about, I don't think James Harden's one of these guys who's going to be satisfied just to like hang it up one day being a top 5 all time score and having made a ridiculous amount of money. I do think he wants to win at the highest level. I do think he wants to validate the fact that he's not just a great score, but a great player. And you need to win at a higher level to move from one column to the next in the public consciousness. So I think he will do his best to make the partnership work. I think embiid absolutely sees himself as somebody who could be an all time great, but needs to win at the highest level to do so or to validate it or confirm it. So I think it can and I still go back to, I know it was a smallest of sample sizes. But when hard and Durant and Kyrie Irving were together last season, they look great together and Hardin gave up the ball a lot. He was more than willing to keep the ball moving as long as they were winning and those guys were in a great rhythm. So I'm like, I'm weird. As somebody who's been critical of hardened at various stages, like I'm weirdly optimistic about this partnership. Like I think it's going to work. Yeah, but didn't you just kind of made my point for me though? Last year, his first year with Brooklyn, things did get tough. Obviously with injury issues to some of the guys, including himself, but he was so desperate to erase the stink of what happened at the end in Houston that he did all the right things that he did morph his game into more of a playmaker mode that he did embrace a role opposite Kyrie Irving, that he did kind of try to carry this team when he needed to and be the facilitator when he didn't. And he did it for, you know, the entirety of the season. And then next year, things got a little bit tough. And putting aside the Kyrie stuff, which obviously is a discussion unto itself. Like, Kevin Durant didn't tear his Achilles. Like he had a knee injury. It's going to get him back onto the floor any moment now. So I think when things get a little bit rough, it just seems like James Harden turns. And again, I don't think it happens this year. But next year, armed with the security of a 5 year contract, if things aren't going his way, I'd be concerned about it, I would. If I was Philadelphia. You still do it, but it's just there. It's always there. You're right. And I don't dismiss that at all, but as of right now, I'm bullish on what they've got and the potential there. You're a very positive guy hard. We always acknowledge that about you. I'm Emilia..

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