PHILADELPHIA-When one thinks about James Harden, one thinks ruthless scorer. One thinks about the 40-point and 50-point games while also nailing killer step-back triples in order to drive the dagger in the hearts of his opponents during his days with the Houston Rockets.
Now with the Philadelphia 76ers, Harden is a different player. Instead of leading the league in scoring, he's leading the league in assists. He's also changing the way he shoots 3-pointers: the catch-and-shoot way.
In the past, Harden would dominate the ball. It would always be in his hands, and for good reason, but now, things are changing. The ball is in Joel Embiid's hands more often than not in Philadelphia and that is where Harden has to change his game up in order to help the Sixers succeed.
In Wednesday's win over the Orlando Magic, he knocked down three triples of the catch-and-shoot variety and that is something Philadelphia will take more of.
"I've been on him," said Joel Embiid of Harden. "I think any time you play with, not just me, but a big that can score the basketball and getting doubled and tripled consistently, you need to have guys that can catch-and-shoot and make shots."
Catching and shooting is not what Harden was comfortable with when he first got to Philadelphia. The ball was always in his hands whether it was with the Rockets or even with the Brooklyn Nets. Harden was obviously not the No. 1 guy in Brooklyn, but he also wasn't spotting up for triples as he is in Philadelphia.
"From the beginning since he got here, that's not something he was comfortable with, but he's gotten better over time," Embiid added. "He's taking more and more. He needs to take more than he does, but it's a good step. He's getting better and he's knocking them down."
After he knocked down three triples off the catch on Wednesday, Harden expressed his excitement to see the success he's having in that department.
"I've been working on it so that's pretty exciting," he smiled. "Just don't do too much. Just catch and shoot, but you put the work in. I work on it every day. So opportunities will come. Whether it's Joel, whether it's dribble penetration, guys get into the paint, create mismatches, create double teams and I get a shot from it."
For the Sixers to continue to grow the Embiid and Harden pairing, they will need The Beard to continue to grow in this area of his game. It would go a long way in helping Philadelphia find a consistent groove and a rhythm on the offensive end of the floor.
Sixers' Joel Embiid, James Harden discuss potential All-Star calls
Doc Rivers addresses backup center situation as Sixers move forward
Magic rookie Paolo Banchero gives his respect to Sixers star Joel Embiid
Sixers' Matisse Thybulle addresses trade interest from Kings, Warriors
Story originally appeared on Sixers Wire