When the Houston Rockets traded James Harden to the Oklahoma City Thunder, he was not happy. He broke into a profanity-laced rant that has since went viral and is still being splashed across headlines months later.

The “sixers news” is a blog post by James Harden’s former coach J.B. Bickerstaff, where he gives Doc Rivers advice for how to unleash the old James Harden.

Just a few seasons ago, James Harden was one of the NBA’s most feared scorers. He’s become one of the league’s most unreliable players.

Harden isn’t the same player he used to be for the Houston Rockets. He’s not averaging more over 30 points per game any more, and he’s having difficulties hitting shots. The Philadelphia 76ers, though, must find a way to bring back classic Harden now that Joel Embiid is gone (hopefully for only one more game).

The Beard’s former coach offers a suggestion about how to do this.

J.B. Bickerstaff, the former head coach of the Houston Rockets and current head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, recently spoke on ESPN and offered his thoughts on how Doc Rivers might unleash the MVP-version of Harden.

J.B. Bickerstaff offers tips on how to resurrect James Harden’s previous form.

Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden, who needs to get back to his old self.

Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden, who needs to get back to his old self. On April 25, 2022, James Harden of the Philadelphia 76ers takes on the Toronto Raptors in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference first round. | Getty Images/Tim Nwachukwu

This season, James Harden hasn’t been his usual self. He scored over 34.0 points per game only two years ago, but just 22.0 this season with the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers. It was his lowest scoring average since his days as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder. He also had his lowest field-goal percentage (41.0%) since his rookie season and hit just 33.0 percent of his long-range attempts, a career low.

In the playoffs, Harden is averaging only 18.6 points on 40.2 percent shooting, and he had a bad game in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Miami Heat. With Joel Embiid out with an orbital fracture and concussion, the 2017-18 MVP finished with 16 points on 5-of-13 shooting and five turnovers. In the second half, Harden only attempted four shots and scored four points, resulting in a 106-92 loss for the 76ers.

From 2012-13 to 2015-16, J.B. Bickerstaff was Harden’s coach with the Houston Rockets. In 2015-16, he also served as interim head coach for 71 games, during which the club finished 37-34. During Bickerstaff’s tenure as head coach, the Beard’s scoring stats improved significantly. He scored 29.0 points per game in 2015-16 after averaging 27.4 the previous season. In reality, under Kevin McHale as head coach that year, he averaged 27.3 points per game, but 29.2 with Bickerstaff.

So, if he were in Doc Rivers’ shoes, what would the current Cavs coach do?

On the May 3 edition of First Take, Bickerstaff remarked, “You have to rapidly make him as comfortable as you possibly can.” “You have to go back to when he was at his most successful if you do that.” You travel back in time and see the footage from his time in Houston. And, as I’m sure Doc is aware, you must find out how to place him in those spots. That squad was loaded with shooters, so he had plenty of room to work with. Then they went into the shot clock rapidly and early. So you’ll have to see how soon you can return to it and make him feel at ease.”

But how are the 76ers going to achieve that?

The 76ers must play with a smaller lineup.

For James Harden to have greater success in Philadelphia, the team must play small (at least while Joel Embiid is out). That means DeAndre Jordan, who has turned into a liability rather than a force in the paint, should not be started.

“Place James in that opposite corner if you place Tobias Harris at the five at the top of the floor,” Bickerstaff added. “Now they have to protect both of them.” James swiftly switches to his left hand; they must decide whether or not they want to swap that. Now that Tobias Harris has popped, you may return the favor; he can now assault closeouts. He also has the ability to roll. You may place the ball in his pocket and he will be able to make the next play from there.”

So, if Tobias Harris were to take Jordan’s spot at the five, who would play the four? Georges Niang, who shot 40.3 percent from three-point range this season, might help the 76ers. Harris, Niang, Tyrese Maxey, and Danny Green would give Harden four solid shooters. He’d have more room to drive and either make a shot or kick it out to one of them for a three-point play.

Will this be enough to address Philadelphia’s issues while Embiid is out? No, but it could be worth a shot to see if the club can steal a game without their MVP contender.

Basketball Reference provided the statistics.

RELATED: Doc Rivers of the Philadelphia 76ers Goes On A Bizarre Rant That Makes His Embarrassing Playoff Collapses Look Even Worse

  • nba standings
  • who does james harden play for
You May Also Like

Russell Westbrook is Taking a Break From Social Media Amid Lakers Dysfunction

Lakers have been plagued by off-the-court drama and many players are fed…

‘He Doesn’t Want to Become a Sideshow’

Clay Mathews is a good guy. He’s a young 29-year-old who has…

Giannis Antetokounmpo Reminded the NBA He’s Deserving of Both the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year Awards With a Single Block

Giannis Antetokounmpo is on the verge of winning his second Defensive Player…

‘He Cared More About That 20-Buck Bet Than He Did the Game’

When you think of the greatest athletes in history, who do you…