James Harden’s tenure with the Clippers has veered off course from the expected trajectory. Despite a contentious offseason departure from Philadelphia in his pursuit of Los Angeles, Harden was eventually traded to the Clippers a week into the 2023-24 NBA season.
However, since donning the Clippers jersey, Harden’s integration into the team has been less than seamless. The team has yet to secure a victory in the four games since his arrival, culminating in a defeat to the Grizzlies on Sunday. Adding a painful twist to the loss was Harden’s late-game airball, essentially extinguishing any hope of a Clippers comeback.
Positioned in the corner with a clear shot, Harden’s attempt missed the mark entirely, prompting swift criticism from fans who have noted his overall lackluster performance since joining the Clippers.
In the unfortunate 105–101 loss to the Grizzlies, only the second win for Memphis in the season, Harden contributed 11 points, four rebounds, and three assists during his 29 minutes of play. Despite averaging 32 minutes per game since joining Los Angeles, his scoring output has been limited to an average of just 14.3 points per game.
During his introduction to the Clippers, Harden emphasized his preference for a style of play that he claimed was restricted in Philadelphia, stating, “I’m not a system player; I am a system.” However, the initial games with the Clippers suggest that the existing system may require a significant overhaul for Harden to thrive.
In light of the team’s struggles and his individual performance, Harden may find it necessary to reflect deeply on his role and impact within the Clippers organization.