Since he was traded to the LA Clippers, it is safe to say James Harden has not lived up to the hype. Sure, he showcased his clutch gene against his former squad, but his scoring and playmaking (or lack thereof) at all three levels are things LA fans did not see coming.
Furthermore, Harden’s numbers since joining the Clippers display why the trade did more damage than good. In his last 11 games, the former MVP has averaged 14.1 points and 6.2 assists while shooting 44.2% from the field.
Moreover, these numbers are quite an eye-opener for a player who once averaged 36 points per game. Not to mention, Harden is currently playing nearly 33 minutes per night, giving fans more reason to wonder why he has failed to meet the expectations.
James Harden will need at least 25 games to acclimate fully with the LA Clippers.
Though there could be several reasons why James Harden has been struggling, the LA Clippers’ star power could be the main one. Not only has he never played with a duo as dominant as Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, but adding a ball-handler like Russell Westbrook could be the difference maker.
Moving Westbrook to the bench may have helped, but it is clear that Harden is not used to being a third option on one of the most talented teams in the league. Additionally, the three-time scoring champion missed all of training camp and preseason, making the adjustment process more challenging than it already is.
On the more optimistic side, Harden is far too talented to not pick it up. Last season, he led the league in assists next to some of the league's best offensive talents in Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey. In the years before, he has teamed up with hall-of-famers such as Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and even Chris Paul.
That said, Harden has proven he can dominate regardless of what his teammates and surroundings look like. He will inevitably pick his game up as the season progresses, but he is in a scoring slump for now. Time and confidence will be the two most significant factors in reviving the premiere scoring of the ten-time all-star.