For years, James Harden has controlled the Houston Rockets offense. As he's been the primary star for the Rockets throughout his tenure in Texas, Harden always led his team statistically as he was a ball-dominant guard who led the roster in shots taken.
When he was traded earlier this season to the Brooklyn Nets, many questioned whether Harden's move elsewhere would work or not as he would have less control. In Brooklyn, Harden joined a team that already had two stars in Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
While the questions surrounding the possible fit were warranted, Harden certainly proved that he's willing to practically "take a step back" and do less than he did in Houston to essentially do more good for the Brooklyn Nets. And recently, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid issued credit to the former MVP for the way he changed his game after joining the Nets this year.
"He’s had a big impact," Embiid said on Zach Lowe's 'The Lowe Post' podcast this week. "The way things ended in Houston obviously, it was unfortunate, but I see that he has been dominant, carrying that Brooklyn team, being a point guard, and doing what’s needed to do, especially considering he has had to change his game in a lot of ways. Going from taking all of 25-30 shots a game to just being a playmaker and actually being OK with it and actually doing a great job at it, I think he is doing a good job."
Although this year's Brooklyn team has dealt with a ton of injuries, they remain second in the Eastern Conference, right behind the Sixers. And when Harden's been healthy for them this season, the veteran guard has established himself as an MVP candidate to many analysts and writers covering the NBA, despite Harden no longer being in full control of his team's offense.
In 34 games with the Nets this season, Harden averaged 25 points and 11 assists while shooting 46-percent from the field and 36-percent from three on 7.5 attempts per game. Harden's absence due to injuries will more than likely exclude him from MVP contention at this point. Still, Embiid, the Sixers, and the rest of the East know that the former Rockets guard remains a problem on the court, and he'll create a significant impact on the Nets as long as he's healthy.