The Dave Covers Spreads Blog: Is James Harden a Top 20 Player? NBA Playoff Betting Preview and Masters Recap

The Dave Covers Spreads Blog: Is James Harden a Top 20 Player? NBA Playoff Betting Preview and Masters Recap

The Shaky 76ers: Is Harden still a Top 20 player?

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It is safe to say that James Hardens first stretch in Philadelphia has looked shaky, to be nice. The Beard is struggling to score consistently and is looking even worse on defence than he has previously. The 76ers waited and waited to trade Ben Simmons for who they thought would be a guy (in James Harden) that would not only increase their chances of winning or getting to the finals but actually make them the favourites to win the NBA Championship. Now this may seem crazy to some of you but I have it on good report that the Philadelphia front office legitimately saw the trade going this way. Now before we jump into all of James Harden’s stats and how bad he has looked as apart of the 76ers lets quickly review the trade they landed the Beard in Philly. 


Philadelphia 76ers Receive

Brooklyn Nets Receive

James Harden

Ben Simmons

Paul Millsap

Seth Curry


2022 first-round pick (unprotected) 


2027 first-round pick (protected)


I didn’t like this trade straight away. I guess that the Philadelphia front office was seeing Harden as this annoyed superstar who was playing bad on purpose because he just didn’t want to be there (seriously, some of his last Brooklyn games were awful). I understand that Philly needed to move Ben Simmons and James Harden seems like a great idea, but the dude has literally pushed his way out of multiple teams now and has shown zero ability to lift a team in a playoff series. James will likely (100%) execute his player option for the 2022-23 season for $47 million before entering free agency in 2023. Now, I don’t know this for certain but it's highly likely that Philly has already agreed to paying James the max extension (5 Years, somewhere in the range of $250 Million) in 2023 FA. If your Philly do you really want to do that? You would be paying a guy who is already showing signs of being on the decline, who you can see by watching these games just doesn’t have the same quick step he used too. He can no longer get past guys easily, and that’s fine, it happens! Harden is still one of the best players ever, but that doesn’t mean he will be good forever! 


Let's have a look at Hardens time with Philadelphia.


Harden had a terrific start with the 76ers averaging 26.5 points, 12 assists, 7.5 rebounds whilst shooting 59 percent from the floor and 50 percent from 3. The 76ers were 4-0 in those first 4 games after acquiring Harden. It’s safe to say that Philly fans were excited during those first 4 games. What came next, they haven’t been excited about.


James Harden’s Game Log: April (5 Games)

WIN vs Indiana (133-120)

22 PTS, 4 REB, 14 AST, 43.8 FG%, 22.2 3P%

LOSS at Toronto (114-119)

13 PTS, 4 REB, 15 AST, 25 FG%, 25 3P%

WIN at Indiana (131-122)

11 PTS, 3 REB, 14 AST, 40 FG%, 28.6 3P%

WIN at Cleveland (112-108) 

21 PTS, 10 REB, 10 AST, 30.8 FG%, 28.6 3P%

WIN vs Charlotte (144-114)

12 PTS, 8 REB, 13 AST, 40 FG%, 33.3 3P%

Average: 15.8 PTS, 5.8 REB, 13.2 AST, 36.1 FG%, 27.3 3P%, 4.2 TOV


You might be thinking, okay the field goal percentages aren’t great but his averaging 13 assists and they went 4-1 in the month of April. Counter, look at who they played! Charlotte, one of the worst defences in the league, Indiana a team in tank mode, Cleveland without Mobley and Allen and the only good team Toronto they lost too! You could say it is his hamstring, and maybe it is, but there has to be cause for concern in the Philadelphia front office. He cannot get by people the same way and he isn’t finishing at the rim. You could handle this if he is still dishing out 10+ assists a game and shooting 3’s, but he is shooting 27 percent from behind the ark. As well as his offensive struggles he has been horrific on the defensive end. 


If you're Philadelphia you are looking at Harden thinking, we have to pay him $250 million plus over the next 5 years, and what are we getting? A point guard who can’t shoot and refuses to play defence? And is taking up a huge amount of cap space. I don’t know if I want to do that! 


In my opinion Harden is one of the top 50 players of all time, he was an incredible scorer, he led his Rockets teams to the WCF (nearly beating GSW) and won MVP. This version of Harden, is just not worth the max contract and if I was Philadelphia I would have serious concerns about locking yourself into Harden for the next few years. Sad thing is you probably have too, because if you don’t someone else will and you lose a big trade asset. 


NBA Playoffs: Betting Preview

First off, I will be releasing a complete playoff bracket breakdown with series predictions and free bets once the play-in games are over. Stay tuned to my twitter to be notified when that blog is dropped! 

Photo Credit: Yahoo!Sports


Most Exciting Round 1 Matchups: 

  1. Brooklyn vs Heat or Bucks

It is looking like Brooklyn will land in 7 seed meaning they just have to win one game and get themselves into the playoffs. Their first round matchup will most likely be the Bucks but could be the Heat if they lose their first play-in game. Either way this is a super tough matchup for Brooklyn, I talked about how no one is really scared of the Nets anymore in my blog last week (read here) and I can guarantee you the Heat and the Bucks would love to face Brooklyn in the first round. I will be personally taking the Bucks or the Heat to beat the Nets in the first round series. 

2. Toronto vs Philadelphia 

We have already discuss Philly’s biggest troubles (Harden) so this one is pretty obvious. Toronto is a tough round 1 matchup for any team, they play good defense and have several guys they can go to to get buckets. Pair this with Philly’s struggles with harden and it will be a very entreating series. I still see Philly getting through this but it might not be as easy of a round 1 matchup as they would have hoped. 


Ones to Watch: 

  1. Los Angeles Clippers

I don’t have to many ‘ones to watch’ in fact at this point the Clippers are the only ones. They now have Paul George back and are looking great. People forget they went to the Western Conference Finals and pushes the Suns in that series last year without Kawaii! Norman Powell is also back for the Clippers, Batum playing well, Jackson and Mann can get buckets and Kennard is sharp shooter off the bench. I think they could push anyone in the West and they still might get Kawaii back! Keep your eye on the Clippers as we head into the play-in and playoffs. 



Masters Recap: Free Pick Results!

On last weeks blog we gave out a free Masters pick, we then gave out 4 more FREE picks on our twitter. There is a reason people come to us for sports picks. We win. We managed to go an incredible 5/5 with our Masters picks! Here is a quick recap of our plays and the tournament.

Photo Credit: PGA


  1. Tiger Woods to Make the Cut

Shortly after the release of this play the odds jumped to +100 so we took them again. The only concern with Tiger is his leg after the car crash. Since the cut is determined after the first 2 rounds I was very confident that the GOAT could make it though the first 2 rounds without too much trouble, after that I wasn’t so sure. That is why we took Tiger to make the cut, and that he did! 

2. Bryson Dechambeau to Miss the Cut

This one just seemed like so much value to me. Bryson publicly said that he was only 80% after dealing with his injury. He finished with a +12 and missed the cut by a wide margin. 

3. Cameron Smith Top 20

4. Scottie Scheffler Top 20

5. Collin Morikawa Top 20


I hope you enjoyed reading this weeks blog, I plan on doing these once a week to start (each Wednesday) where I go around sharing my thoughts and opinions on some of the hottest topics in sports. If you enjoyed reading this or have any comments or opinions feel free to reach out to me on  Instagram and Twitter. 

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Thanks for reading, Dave Covers Spreads. 

Last Week on the Dave Covers Spreads Blog

  1. NBA: No One is Scared of Brooklyn, Plus Why Not Embiid?
  2. MLB: Rule Changes, Trades and Opening Day
  3. FREE PICK: It’s Masters Time!


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