PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - OCTOBER 24: James Harden #1 of the Philadelphia 76ers dribbles during the first quarter against the Indiana Pacers at Wells Fargo Center on October 24, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

For the past month, the Sixers have been without James Harden as he recovered from a right foot tendon strain. But it is looking like he could be back soon. Shams Charania reported today that Harden is targeting a return in the Sixers’ upcoming three-game road trip. And the most likely day for his return will be on Monday vs his former team the Rockets.

This pretty much lines up with the initial timetable for his return. The sixers recently got Joel Embiid back after he missed a few games. And they are still awaiting the return of Tyrese Maxey. James Harden played the first 9 games this season, before suffering the injury. In those games, he averaged 22 points, 10 assists, and 7 rebounds per game. They went 4-5 in those games. And have gone 8-4 since he went out. But some of that is an easier schedule.

The bench players have stepped up in his absence though. But it remains to be seen how things will go once James Harden returns to the lineup. The same bench players struggled mightily at the start of the season. So could adding a ball dominant player like Harden back in the lineup mess with that newfound chemistry?

Rich Hoffman discussed that exact issue when he joined “The Best Show Ever?” yesterday. 

“When you have James Harden back when you have Tyrese Maxey back, can you play this same style of basketball? At the beginning of the season, they weren’t playing very well. Those top 3 players need to be allowed to cook. But these other guys are more capable than it was shown at the start of the year… I don’t know exactly how it is going to work. James Harden is a very specific idiosyncratic player.

But the good news is the super duper star of the team Joel Embiid, seemed very attuned to that idea. He was looking to pass the ball. Think he finished with 7 assists. He would have had more if they shot the ball well. But that is the biggest issue with this team.”

Obviously getting a player as talented as Harden back is always a good thing. It is just a question of if there could be an adjustment period when he initially gets back. They play the Cavs in Cleveland tonight and then travel to play the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday. They close out the road trip on Monday in Houston vs the Rockets. If he returns Monday night as currently planned, he will have missed 14 games in total.



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