He’s still to play in a game and the James Harden effect is already being felt in Philadelphia.
Harden, who was acquired at the Feb. 10 trade deadline will be sidelined through the All-Star break but has already taken part in a few practices, where he was spotted working with MVP candidate Joel Embiid on the signature stepback jumper.
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Sixers center Joel Embiid trying to James Harden’s trademark step-back move. Assistant coach Sam Cassell keeps saying Embiid is taking four steps, tho. Harden shows him how to do it with two steps. pic.twitter.com/f5l9Vq8gyn
– Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) February 15, 2022
I know what you’re thinking here. Embiid is, without a doubt, one of the most skilled centers that the game has ever seen, but he wouldn’t try the move in a game before perfecting it, right?
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Ahead of halftime in the Sixers blowout loss to the Celtics, Embiid tried his hand at Harden’s signature move and it go didn’t go so well.
– Saheel Momin (@sm_reports) February 16, 2022
Just as assistant coach Sam Cassell told him in the above practice footage, Embiid takes one too many steps on his stepback and, as a result, is whistled for a travel.
To add insult to injury, the move wasn’t even that effective, as Celtics center Al Horford managed to block the attempt that wouldn’t have counted anyway.
Given Embiid’s skill level and advanced footwork, it’s only a matter of time before he actually does manage to nail the move, but given the fact he’s leading the league in scoring without a stepback 3-pointer in his arsenal, it might be best he leaves it to Harden.