Shaquille O’Neal Shuts Up Charles Barkley’s James Harden Slander

Published 02/11/2022, 9:30 AM EST
Nov 24, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden (13) reacts to a call as they take on the Boston Celtics in the second half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

James Harden has been an NBA superstar for many years. After being traded to the Houston Rockets, the ‘Beard’ would dominate the league and establish himself as a scorer and a playmaker. In fact, he’d even win the MVP award due to his performances in the 2017-18 season alongside Chris Paul.

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Upon departing from Houston, Harden would join forces with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant in Brooklyn. However, things did not work out for the trio and this season was the tipping point for the ‘Beard’. With Durant injured, and Kyrie only available for away games, things became tough for Harden as he had to carry the team on his shoulders.

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Dec 8, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden (13) reacts after a play during the second quarter against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

So on trade deadline day, the Brooklyn Nets traded him to the Philadelphia 76ers and received Ben Simmons and a few other pieces in exchange. In light of this trade news, the TNT Crew debated on who the winner of the trade was. However, it was Shaq who had the last laugh as he dismissed Barkley’s claims by stating that the 76ers won the exchange.

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Shaq Explains Why the 76ers Won the James Harden Trade

The debate started off with Charles Barkley explaining why the Brooklyn Nets won the trade. He backed his claim with several reasons that included a loss of roster depth for the 76ers and a possible chemistry issue between Harden and Embiid as both players are ball-dominant.

Furthermore, he stated that Harden would have to learn to involve his teammates, especially Tobias Harris, in the game, and be the second-best player for the 76ers after Embiid. It was after this that Shaq explained why the 76ers were the actual winners of the trade.

“To me, Philadelphia 76ers is the winner of this trade as they got a guy that is a dynamic scorer,” said Shaq.

“You can have two guys that can score a lot of points in the same team. It’s been done before. You have to make sure that the big guy eats first. Throw it to the big man, let him eat first. When he gets tired and gets in foul trouble, that’s when you go to work,” explained Shaq on Harden’s role with the 76ers will be like.

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Furthermore, Shaq added that Harden still has the capability of scoring, but did not do so on the Nets as he had to hold his game back to benefit KD and Kyrie. Thereafter, he mentioned that unlike the Nets; the Sixers need Harden to score for the team’s benefit.

In Conclusion

Clearly, Shaq is right in his description of Harden’s role on the Nets. His scoring numbers were lowered, but his assist numbers were improved in order to support KD and Kyrie. However, in Philly, he will have to become an all-around player in terms of scoring and passing.

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James Harden – Houston Rockets vs Brooklyn Nets – Regular Stats (Stats valid as of 11th Feb 2022)

With a new one-two punch alongside Embiid, the sky is the limit for Harden and the 76ers.

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Sameer Prasad Koppolu

273 articles

Sameer is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Having graduated from Manipal Institute of Technology, he has always had a keen interest in basketball and the numbers behind the game. With a goal to become a Sports Performance Analyst for a professional sports team, Sameer brings insights backed by data.

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