The Philadelphia 76ers have a new name in town in James Harden, which has left some on the team adapting to a new role due to his presence.
One of those players is forward Tobias Harris, who has seen his production take a slight dip since the addition of Harden. In Harden’s first two games as a 76ers, Harris scored a total of 18 points, six in the first game and 12 in the second, both well below his current season average of 18.3 points per game.
Harris recently spoke to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Noah Levick about this change in his role and how he was more concerned with winning games than the total number of points he has at the end of the game.
“It’s been two games,” Harris said. “I’m not worried about my offensive points and production. I think everybody has this notion of, ‘Oh, you’ve got to score this many points.’ Yeah, I get it, but at the end of the day I’m a winner and I incorporate into winning basketball. If that’s me taking 15 shots or if that’s me taking eight shots, it is what it is.
“As long as we’re winning basketball games, that’s what the name of the game is about. A lot of people may not like to hear that, but that’s the predicament we’re in right now. We have a lot of firepower, especially with James and Joel on this team. So my goal is to be out here, be ready, and when shots are available and the opportunity is there, take advantage of it and do whatever I can for our group.”
While Harris has had to take a backseat to Harden, the first signs for the team have been encouraging, albeit in just two appearances thus far, the 76ers are 2-0 with Harden so far, winning both games over the New York Knicks and Minnesota Timberwolves by double-digits.
In his first outing as a 76er, Harden put up 27 points and 12 assists and followed that up with a 29 point, 16 dimes, and 10 rebound triple-double.
The 76ers acquired Harden as part of the blockbuster trade deadline deal that sent Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, and Andre Drummond to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Harden and Paul Millsap. Simmons has yet to suit up for the Nets, but Curry and Drummond have played six times thus far, with Curry averaging 17.8 points per game over those appearances and Drummond averaging 9.8 points per game.
The 76ers and Nets are scheduled to face off next Thursday, March 10, in Philadelphia.