The Philadelphia 76ers were taken down by the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night, falling to Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving by a final of 133-126.
This painful defeat led to a spirited debate on the set of the NBA on TNT after the game.
"James [Harden] needs to win a championship." @SHAQ on the player who has the most to prove this postseason pic.twitter.com/agM4LqPyLQ
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) March 3, 2023
During a conversation about which NBA players have the most to prove and need to win a championship, former champ Shaquille O’Neal gave his thoughts about James Harden.
“James needs to win a championship,” O’Neal stated plainly.
He isn’t the first person to say this about Harden.
For years now, Harden has been a player who has been criticized for having a strong regular season and rough postseason performances.
There are many who think that he runs out of energy, gasses out, and isn’t nearly as focused when his teams need him most.
And while he has played in the Finals, he has yet to win his first ring.
It’s too soon to tell if he will win it all this year but Harden has clearly been playing with more fire and drive during 2022-23.
He is making good on his promise to fans, at least so far.
But a terrific regular season won’t matter if Harden and his team aren’t able to make a sizable impact on the playoffs.
O’Neal was wise to recommend that both Harden and Joel Embiid use previous disappointments as motivation in the months ahead.
If they can both take the criticisms they’ve received and translate them into drive and determination, they might be able to do amazing things.
It may not be enough to win a championship this year but it could give them their best playoff run ever.NEXT: The 76ers’ Amazing Big Three Was Still Not Enough To Win