James Harden traded to 76ers: Breaking down the fantastic impact of the Harden-Ben Simmons deal

the biggest exchange of the 2021-22 season is being finalized. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Brooklyn Nets are sending James Harden and Paul Millsap to the Philadelphia 76ers for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two future first-round picks. Rumor has it The Beard was too fed up with the Nets not living up to their potential just one season after forcing his way out of Houston. Now, he will join MVP favorite Joel Embiid in hopes of improving his chances of winning an NBA title.

Harden has long been one of the most impactful fantasy assets in the NBA, and now he will join a team led by the man who built the Rockets’ ultra-efficient offense. Let’s see how his reunion with Daryl Morey could affect the production of the actors involved.

James Harden

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It took a little while for Harden to recover from the hamstring injury that ended his first playoff run with Brooklyn, but he’s put up phenomenal numbers since his Christmas Day triple-double against the Los Angeles Lakers. He’s averaged 24.9 points, 10.9 assists, and 8.1 rebounds per game since that contest. His shooting spreads (42.5-32.5-84.8) in the 18 games he’s played since then could use some work, but playing with the most dominant post strengths in the league could help. Harden to rebound.

It’s nigh on impossible to stop Embiid with a single player, so Harden should benefit from a more open look as a point shooter and cutter. According to NBA.com, 49% of his shot attempts have come against tight defense. Lowering that number with Embiid’s gravity could help Harden score with more frequency and efficiency. Harden averaged 29 points, 7.7 assists and 6.6 rebounds per game when Morey was general manager of Houston. His score may not reach that mark, but it’s reasonable to expect an increase in points per game with more breathing room. Harden should easily be the top-ranked shooting guard in the points leagues and could very well make a run for the No. 1 point guard if he’s healthy.

Joel Embid

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Embiid’s dominance knew no bounds this year. The superstar big man is averaging a league-high 29.4 points with 10.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists. The 76ers are improving by bringing in a co-star for the big man, but he has less to gain than his new teammate. Embiid’s mix of size, strength, and skill helps him avoid needing a prep man on offense. He’s also not the traditionally athletic lob threat that Harden has grown accustomed to in recent years.

Process averaged 25.5 points, 11.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game in 207 career appearances alongside Simmons. His averages in all three categories (25.3, 10.2, 3.0) were only marginally lower in the 22 games he played with the giant-sized keeper. Embiid should continue to have the look he wants going forward, and only Nikola Jokic should be able to match his Fantasy output in the second half of the season.

Tobias Harris

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Harris has thrived as Philly’s second-best option for most of the season and could comfortably finish in the top 10 forwards at three or four. He will likely be relegated to the third option with Harden coming to town, however. He averaged 19.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists since his final season with the Los Angeles Clippers. Harris’ scoring might wane at times, but he’ll always have a lot of value as a rebounder and defender.

Philly probably won’t be too reliant on Charles Bassey as Embiid’s backup center, so Harris might need to step back as one of the longest players on his team. Harris has averaged 8.2 rebounds in the five games he has played without Drummond available this year and could be a decent little ball five when Embiid needs a break. Paul Millsap hasn’t played any meaningful basketball in a while and could play minutes here and there.

Tyrese Maxey

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Maxey has looked like the 76ers’ second-best player this season, but will likely see his Fantasy value take the biggest hit. The second-year combo guard has gotten used to leading the offense with Simmons out of the picture and will likely shift more to an off-ball role with Harden as his backcourt partner. He averaged just 6.1 points and 1.8 assists per game in 48 appearances alongside Simmons, but his workload almost tripled in the second year.

It’s safe to say that Maxey has moved away from Shake Milton, but the two will likely play supporting roles while Harden acts as lead initiator. Maxey shoots over 40% on catch-and-shoot 3 but attempts less than two per game. He will have to prove that he can be productive with fewer chances to create on the dribble.

Fantasy’s impact on Nets players is pending.