MILWAUKEE, WI–James Harden has yet to take the court as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers as he is still nursing the hamstring issue that bothered him towards the end of his time with the Brooklyn Nets, but he has made an impact right away.
Harden traveled with the team to Milwaukee on Thursday, despite not being able to play, as he wanted to try and build bonds and chemistry with his new teammates right away rather than wait until after the All-Star break. It wasn’t anything that coach Doc Rivers or anybody like that asked him to do so, this is just something that he wanted to do in order to help the team.
In Thursday’s impressive win over the Milwaukee Bucks on the road, Harden was on the bench getting into his teammates’ ears. There was a run in the second quarter where Tyrese Maxey rattled off 14 points and Harden was on the bench being the catalyst of that run with his coaching of his young teammate.
After the win, the Sixers were impressed with Harden for what he has done thus far just as a leader:
Just his presence. You can see his interactions on the bench and even him being here knowing that he’s not playing is good for us. Especially because we’re trying to build that chemistry. It’s been different, it’s been a different energy since he got here so once he gets on the court, I’m sure he’s gonna be even better.
It’s funny that you say that. In the first quarters of the game, I was driving in the paint and I lost the ball a couple times and he pulled me aside and was like ‘Try and get up 10 3s. That’s what you do.’ I just looked at the stat sheet and I put up 10 3s so note to self, take note from James Harden.
I’ve never played with James before so just being able to be around him for these couple days, he’s really encouraging to all the guys on the team. You can see his leadership skills and being able to push us along and really see what he sees as a basketball player and how we can be better as a whole group. That, I think, is gonna go a long way for our whole group. Him being out there playing as well and being able to run the show at the point guard position and putting people in the right positions and really, for us, it’s camaraderie. That’s the big thing for our group and how we’ve been able to be successful up until the break now. When the break is over and we get back to it, that’s when we look to expand on all of it.
I love to see him on the bench as a teammate because I’m a really big fan of his game. I think he’s an elite, elite basketball player. Like every dribble that he takes, he does something with a purpose, he doesn’t do anything just to do it. That’s why I love his game. I’m really excited to play with him. I think I’m also gonna learn a lot of things from him.
What I see in my five years in the league, there’s superstars that either really like, they talk to you, or there are some other superstars that don’t really talk. I think he is one of them that really talks and try to teach. That’s why it’s good to have him. Sometimes, there’s other superstars that just show up, do their job, and just leave, they don’t talk. I think James is not one of them.
It’s great. James is great because he’s sitting there and instead of me giving them messages, we were relaying stuff to James and we did it twice. The one we told James is Tyrese has drives, he’s not driving. He’s not being aggressive. Ibaka was in a drop and so Tyrese was seeing it and giving up instead of attacking. Once he started attacking, that was the change of the game when he started attacking.
Huge, it’s huge One thing so far being around James, he’s really in a very positive in guys ear and all he talks about is being aggressive, and that’s great.