James Harden against Toronto in the 2022 NBA playoffs.

The Philadelphia 76ers have been extremely impressive so far in the 2022 NBA Playoffs, jumping out to a 2-0 series lead after Monday’s victory over the Toronto Raptors.

They have won both games by over 15 points and look likely to advance to the second round with some strong performances by star center Joel Embiid leading the way.

While the team has looked like a well-oiled machine so far, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith has some concerns surrounding one of Philadelphia’s stars that he believes could impact their chances at a deep playoff run going forward.

“I am very concerned about James Harden,” said Smith on First Take Tuesday morning. “We have to have a conversation about James Harden that we haven’t had.

“James Harden doesn’t look the same. He hasn’t looked the same since the hamstring injury he suffered last year in Brooklyn. I am not seeing a guy that can get by people with ease. He can’t shrug off defenders the way I was accustomed to seeing.

“The reason that is a big deal is that you didn’t bring James Harden here to beat the Toronto Raptors. You brought him for the next round, and the round after that. I am concerned from what I am seeing from James Harden as an individual player.”

The stats actually back up what Stephen A. had to say to this point in the NBA season.

Harden is averaging a career-low field goal percentage while also averaging 21 points per game, his lowest average since the 2011 season when he was a backup for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

While this has been a small sample, Harden has also not been impressive so far in two playoff games thus far, averaging 18 points per game on a horrendous 35 percent from the field. It could be from how he has fit so far on his new team, or it could be exactly what Stephen A. Smith has said, that he has lost a step.

Regardless, he will certainly need to pick it up and bring back some vintage James Harden games if the 76ers have any hope of being NBA champions this year.

[First Take]

About Reice Shipley

Reice Shipley is a staff writer for Comeback Media that graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Sports Media. He previously worked at Barrett Sports Media and is a fan of all things Syracuse sports.