It’s hard to believe the last time the Philadelphia Sixers made the playoffs was 2012. The past five years have been unbelievably painful and downright depressing. That season was the last time, before now, that fans had some semblance of hope for their beloved Sixers.
Philadelphia entered the 2012 playoffs as the eighth seed, and had a 35-31 record following a strike shortened season. In the first round of the playoffs, the Sixers took on top seeded Chicago Bulls. Derrick Rose, the incumbent MVP winner, tore his ACL in game one of the playoffs. That changed the dynamic of the series. Philadelphia had a three games to two lead with game six at home in Philly. All fans remember being down 78-77 with seven seconds and Omer Asik at the free throw line only to miss the second one. Andre Iguodala grabbed that rebound off the rim and dribbled down the court and got fouled by Asik with 2.2 seconds left. He sank both free throws and the team ended up advancing. The Sixers ended up losing the next series to the Boston Celtics in seven games.
There isn’t a single player on that roster who is still on that team, but let’s see where they are now.
Andre Iguodala (12.4/6.1/5.5):
He was the leader on this team. In that offseason he was shipped to the Denver Nuggets as a part of the infamous Andrew Bynum trade. He spent one year there and then signed a four-year contract with the Golden State Warriors. Iguodala has proven to be a key contributor off the bench in a role that suited him better than being the top option in Philly. Iggy was tasked with guarding LeBron James in the NBA Finals. He won the championship in 2015 and was the Finals MVP. He could be a two-time champion by the end of the month.
Jrue Holiday (13.5/3.3/4.5):
Jrue Holiday was the Sixers starting point guard for the 2012 team. He had shown improvements but clearly had more room to grow. The next year, Holiday was selected to his first all-star game. He was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans on draft day in 2013. In exchange for their starting point guard, the Sixers acquired New Orleans’ 2013 first round pick in Nerlens Noel and a 2014 first round pick. That pick was traded again and ended up being Dario Saric. Since coming to New Orleans, Holiday has struggled to stay on the court. He will be a free agent this offseason and could command a large contract.
Elton Brand (11/7.2/1.6):
Elton Brand agreed to a four-year contract in Philadelphia in 2008. He, albeit out of his prime, was a marquee signing for this team. He brought veteran leadership to a relatively young team. His decline was rapid and by the end of his contract, the Sixers utilized the amnesty clause to terminate the contract. He went on to play for the Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks before retiring. Brand ended up coming out of retirement to rejoin the Sixers but has since re-retired.
Thaddeus Young (12.8/5.2/1.2):
Thaddeus Young was always a scrappy hustle guy. The team would never draw up a play for him, but he was the glue guy that made the plays that wouldn’t show up in the stat sheet. Young was included in the blockbuster deal that sent the first overall pick, Andrew Wiggins to Minnesota in exchange for Kevin Love. He spent some time in Minnesota then Brooklyn and since was traded to the Indiana Pacers. Young’s role has remained the same throughout his career and it looks like it’ll stay that way.
Evan Turner (9.4/5.8/2.8):
Evan Turner was selected second overall in the 2010 draft and never reached the heights fans expected. He never was able to consistently make a jumpshot. Turner was a leader on the Sixers but it was mostly because someone had to. Turner’s numbers were inflated because he was getting more touches and shots than he really should’ve been. He was traded in February of 2014 with Lavoy Allen to the Indiana Pacers in exchange for Danny Granger and a second round pick.
Lou Williams (14.9/2.4/3.5):
Williams was the Sixers’ leading scorer in 2011-2012 and came off the bench for every single game. That season he finished second in the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award. He spent eight seasons in Philadelphia as a poor man’s volume scorer running the second unit. After that season, he signed in Altanta, and then was traded to Toronto. Lou Williams was named NBA Sixth Man in 2015 as a member of the Toronto Raptors. He then went to the Lakers and became the team’s best pure scorer since Kobe Bryant. Williams was traded at the deadline this year to the Houston Rockets where he made meaningful contributions off the bench.
Jodie Meeks (8.4/2.4/0.8):
Meeks was a role man that saw limited minutes on the Sixers during their playoff run. He was a better pure shooter than Williams but struggled to create his own the way Williams could. That’s why Williams was higher on the depth chart. Since that year, Meeks has played for the Lakers, Pistons and the Magic. Meeks has remained a contributor off the bench but has played in more than 70 games in only three out of his nine seasons in the NBA.
Spencer Hawes (9.6/7.3/2.6):
Hawes was a stretch five before that was common in the NBA. For his career, he shoots 35% from three. Hawes’ biggest weakness was his inability to rebound the ball. He spent three years in Philadelphia. Since being traded to the Cavaliers in 2014, he has since played for the Clippers, Hornets and now the Milwaukee Bucks.
Nikola Vucevic (5.5/4.8/0.6):
The Sixers drafted Vucevic sixteenth overall in 2011. He barely played during his rookie season in Philadelphia averaging only sixteen minutes a game. Philly shipped Vucevic to the Orlando Magic as a part of the aforementioned Bynum deal. With more playing time, Nikola Vucevic’s skill set progressed. In six seasons with Orlando he’s averaged at least 13.1 points a game each year and has averaged a double double four of those six seasons.
Lavoy Allen (4.1/4.2/0.8):
Allen was picked late in the second round of the 2011 draft. He spent a couple years coming off the bench in Philly but was frustratingly mediocre. Allen’s time in Philadelphia was relatively uneventful. He was a casualty of the process and was sent with Evan Turner to the Indiana Pacers. Allen has remained a bench player in Indiana since the trade.
Xavier Silas, Tony Battie, Sam Young, Craig Brackins, Andres Nocioni and Francisco Elson also suited up for the Sixers during the 2011-2012 season.
It should be noted that each player on this Sixers team that was one win away from the conference finals now has either the same or a smaller role on another team (except Vucevic).
Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports