Colin Cowherd: James Harden Is a Glorified Role Player With a Shoe Deal

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The Philadelphia 76ers are up 2-0 on the Brooklyn Nets and feel like they're well on their way to a first-round sweep. So that's the good news. The bad news is that James Harden was pedestrian in Game 2, going 3-for-13 from the field and failing to put up double figures in the points column. This came after a terrific performance in the series opener and after a regular season in which he transformed into more of a supporting character than the main one. Which makes sense when Joel Embiid is getting all the lines.

Colin Cowherd has noticed this and offered a stark assessment of the state of play. "James Harden now is a glorified role player with a shoe deal and lots of fashion," the Fox Sports host said on his program today.

It's true that Philadelphia might be cruising for a bruising if they are relying on Harden to carry them as deep into the playoffs as they'd like to go. Even when he was at his most ball-dominant self and was the NBA's MVP, his playoff legacy is covered in red flags. But the bright side is that, barring an Embiid injury, they won't have to.

If you assess the Eastern Conference right now, the Sixers might be the most trustworthy team. And among the healthiest. Harden is capable of winning a game or two by himself. There aren't many role players, glorified or not, that can lead the league in assists.

It would be a bit ironic if Harden finally found his postseason glory by playing the second or even third fiddle. Yet hasn't that been the critique he's faced his entire career? That for all his skill, he's not a winner?

One never expects to wake up one morning in the position to defend Harden, and yet I might have to should his team keep doing the most important thing.