Report: James Harden was dismayed at losing out to Donovan Mitchell and Kyrie Irving for 2023 All-Star starter spots

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Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

A recent report indicates that Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden was dismayed at losing out to Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell and former Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving for the 2023 NBA All-Star starter spots.

“THE FIRST HINT that Harden’s ‘sacrifice’ wasn’t being appreciated, much less rewarded in the way he hoped, came in late January when he wasn’t voted to be an All-Star,” Ramona Shelburne wrote. “Harden, who had made 10 consecutive All-Star games, was dismayed at the snub, sources said.

“It didn’t help that his former Nets teammates Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving had both been voted in as starters by the fans, media and players, while Harden was a distant fourth among Eastern Conference guards behind Irving, Donovan Mitchell and Jaylen Brown.”

Harden, 34, was selected with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft after spending two seasons playing college basketball at Arizona State University. He averaged 17-plus points and five-plus rebounds per game in each of his two seasons as a Sun Devil.

Harden’s best season at Arizona State came during his second and final season with the team, the 2008-09 season. The guard averaged 20.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game in 35 appearances as a sophomore (all starts).

His contributions translated to a whole lot of wins for the Sun Devils. They finished the 2008-09 season with an excellent 25-10 record and NCAA Tournament appearance. The Sun Devils won their first-round game against Temple University before losing to Syracuse University in the second round. Harden struggled mightily in the loss, as he converted just two of his 10 field-goal attempts.

The 6-foot-5 guard has played for four NBA teams — the Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Nets and Sixers — across his 14 seasons in the NBA. He averaged 21.0 points, 6.1 rebounds and a league-leading 10.7 assists per game across 58 appearances with Philadelphia during the 2022-23 regular season (all starts).

However, Harden wasn’t able to carry over his excellent play from the 2022-23 regular season into the 2023 postseason. His playoff numbers fell a bit compared to the regular season, as he averaged 20.3 points and 8.3 assists per game while shooting just 39.3 percent from the field in 11 playoff games.

Harden’s worst series of the 2023 postseason came against the Nets in the first round. The Sixers swept the Nets in four games, but the 34-year-old averaged just 17.3 points per game for the series. He also really struggled to score the ball efficiently from the field, as he converted just 34.3 percent of his field-goal attempts.

The Sixers would be wise to trade Harden before the start of the 2023-24 regular season, as he’s made it abundantly clear that he no longer wants to be a member of the franchise. Plus, the Sixers haven’t enjoyed a whole lot of playoff success with Harden, considering they’ve been knocked out in the second round of the playoffs in each of Harden’s two seasons with the team.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer at SB Nation’s CelticsBlog and The Knicks Wall.