Inspired by the wonderful piece that Ricky Amandeo (@Ricky_amandeo8) wrote on the Flyers, we’re taking a look at which former Sixers would fit in with today’s current team.
Important to note, this is not just a list of the “best” all-time 76ers, it takes into account both ability and fit. For example, I’ve purposefully excluded any and all centers/power forwards from this list.
As great as Wilt Chamberlain was, him playing alongside Joel Embiid would simply not work.
The 2019/2020 Sixers are/were clearly not a perfect team, and with that in mind, let’s see who amongst Philadelphia’s basketball history could fix them.
*Ricky’s Flyers story: https://phillysportsnetwork.com/2020/03/20/which-former-flyers-would-be-a-great-fit-now/*
Seriously, just take a moment to imagine a backcourt consisting of Ben Simmons and Allen Iverson. Can you picture it? Just pure and utter chaos would be inflicted on opposing defenses.
What Simmons lacks in scoring and shooting, Iverson makes up for. What Iverson lacks in size and defense, Simmons then brings to the table. The two would dominate in both the half-court setting and in transition, creating what would clearly be the best backcourt in today’s NBA.
It would be almost identical to what the organization pictured Ben and Markelle Fultz doing, had Fultz worked out.
Iverson, a league MVP in 2001 who regularly averaged close to 30 points per game, would fit in almost perfectly next to the Sixers current two All-Stars. With his experience and “alpha-dog” mentality, Philly would likely be looking at a trip to the finals.
One of the greatest scorers and athletes in NBA history, adding someone like Julius “Dr. J” Erving is an obvious one. The team would be adding immense scoring talent to their lineup, while also having another versatile wing defender to use.
Dr. J would most likely take over the small forward position, allowing Tobias Harris to operate as a more natural, floor-spacing power forward. This would create heaps of space down low while scuttling Al Horford off to the bench.
Rolling out a defensive lineup consisting of Erving, Simmons, Matisse Thybulle, and Joel Embiid would cause opposing coaches to lay awake at night.
Similar to that of Iverson, Hall of Famer Hal Greer would add that much-needed extra guard play to the Sixers roster. While guys like Jimmy Butler or Josh Richardson have been decent in that role recently, Greer would simply be on an entirely different level.
Greer, famous for his time with the 76ers during their championship run in the 60s, was excellent at operating with Wilt Chamberlain. The two formed an elite duo which ultimately proved good enough to knock off the seemingly invincible Bill Russell-led Celtics.
Pairing Greer with Embiid in today’s game would be borderline iconic.
The Dark Horses
In all seriousness, how much of a surprise is including Kyle Korver on this list? One of the greatest shooters in both Sixers and NBA history, Korver’s all-time great ability to knock down the long ball would be a welcomed sight on today’s 76ers squad.
Posting three-point percentages of 49.2%, 47.2%, and even 53.6% across various seasons in his career, Korver would instantly rank as the best shooter on the current Sixers roster. Considering one of the biggest issues with today’s squad is in fact their inability to knock down the long ball, the impact of this addition would be immense.
Amongst all the hype surrounding Allen Iverson’s MVP season in 2001, many fans are quick to forget that the team had another player win a league award that year. Sixth Man of the Year Aaron McKie.
The Clippers have Lou Williams, the Celtics have Marcus Smart, the Thunder have Darren Collison, etc. Who is the Sixers go-to option off the bench currently? Furkan Korkmaz??
Having a legitimate, stable “pro” to rely on in the second unit would almost have as big of an effect as the addition of a Hall of Fame starter. An issue that was vastly exploited in last year’s playoff run, McKie could hold down the bench unit just like he did for Philly in 2001.
While Iverson, Greer, and McKie add some much needed guard-produced offense to today’s Sixers team, the addition of Maurice “Mo” Cheeks would mean acquiring one of the best on-ball defenders in team history. A 5x All-NBA Defender and a 4x All-Star, Cheeks would provide an absurd amount of defensive capabilities.
With Simmons and Embiid already making their own personal pushes for a Defensive Player of the Year award, a trio with Cheeks would make the 76ers extremely difficult to score on. Whether he would operate as the starting shooting guard or as the backup PG, Cheeks could regularly take away star guards like Trae Young or Kemba Walker.
Cheeks, of course, helped the Sixers win a championship in 1983 and was selected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Bobby Jones, Jrue Holiday, Andre Iguodala, Hersey Hawkins, Lou Williams, Billy Cunningham
Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
David is a 20 year old college student at the University of Maryland. A lifelong Philadelphia sports fan who started covering the teams back in late May of 2019. After just a few months of writing for fun on a personal blog, he now reports on the 76ers for PhillySportsNetwork.com and the Phillies for Fansided.com.