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If Stephen A. Smith gets his way, the NBA will soon begin an investigation into Sixers (former) star James Harden.
Smith is calling on the league to determine how and why Harden disappeared while on the game’s biggest stage. In Thursday’s series-ending loss to the Heat, Harden contributed just 11 points and failed to score in the second half of the 99-90 defeat.
Now Smith, one of ESPN’s most popular on-air personalities, wants some answers.
“That performance by James Harden requires an investigation,” Smith said via ESPN. “How in God’s name you go 22 minutes in the second half and attempt one shot. It was a horrific performance. Anemic and impotent performance by James Harden.”
Stephen A. Smith on James Harden and Doc Rivers after the Philadelphia 76ers were eliminated by the Miami Heat. 🏀🔥 pic.twitter.com/yL3YVij1dp
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) May 13, 2022
In six games against Miami, Harden averaged just over 18 points a game on .405% shooting, hardly the type of numbers expected from someone playing on a max contract.
Any investigation is likely to find that Harden’s out of shape, and has been for quite some time. That’s the message former All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire passed along Thursday when asked about Harden.
“I think, not being in top shape, not taking your body serious, and not really being able to focus in on that in the off-season, and getting yourself prepared through training camp and through the regular season to get to this point,” Stoudemire commented. “It takes a lot of determination for that to happen. And I don’t think that happened for him this past off-season, and throughout this season.”
Despite his disappearing act, Harden’s contract has a player option worth $47.8 million and is eligible to sign a four-year, $269.9 million extension with the Sixers. One way or another, he’s getting paid.
No investigation is needed.
Follow along on Twitter: @OhioAF