76ers draft history: Top guards selected all-time

Sixers Iverson 76ers
Former Philadelphia 76ers NBA basketball player Allen Iverson poses for photos next to his statue at the teams training center in Camden, N.J., Friday, April 12, 2024 (Jose F. Moreno/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

Over the decades, the Philadelphia 76ers have drafted some amazing guards. Whether they targeted a point guard or shooting guard, they lucked out in the first or second round, selecting generational talent. Even if that talent came up short in the pursuit of a championship, each player from this list proudly wore a Sixers uniform and entertained South Philly crowds, creating memories for basketball fans that will last a lifetime.

The Sixers recently selected Jared McCain with the 16 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. Time will tell where he, or for that matter Tyrese Maxey, will fall relative to some of the all-time greats. For now, we look toward the past to identify some of the greatest guards the team has ever drafted.

This list pays homage to the Sixers franchise’s scouts and management from their respective eras. It also reminds Philly fans that it hasn’t always been doom and gloom when it comes to picking quality players, regardless of whether they played in the Spectrum or the Wells Fargo Center.

Hal Greer | 1958 NBA Draft

Before Philadelphia had a basketball franchise known as the 76ers, they were the Syracuse Nationals. In 1958, a shooting guard out of Marshall University was drafted by the Nats in the second round. Harold Greer was selected by Syracuse and would become one of the best players in franchise history. Better known as Hal Greer, he went on to become the highest-scoring Sixers player. With 21,586 points scored for the franchise, his record still stands today.

Not only was he a 10x All-Star, but he also helped lead the Sixers to a championship in 1967. Hal Greer was a 7x All-NBA player and a member of both the Basketball Hall of Fame and the NBA 75th Anniversary Team. 

Doug Collins | 1973 NBA Draft

If you do not remember watching him play, you may remember this basketball figure coaching Michael Jordan and the Bulls in the mid-1980s. If you’re too young for that era, you perhaps saw him coaching Andre Iguodala for the Sixers in the early 2010s. Well, prior to coaching, Doug Collins was quite a player for the 76ers.

Drafted with the first pick overall in the 1973 NBA Draft, he went on to become a 4x All-Star. In 1975-76, he averaged over 20 points per game. The following season, he played alongside Julius Erving. Collins averaged an impressive 22 points in the playoffs despite losing in the NBA Finals to Portland.

Maurice Cheeks | 1978 NBA Draft

If there were ever a traditional point guard in the 1980s, it would be Maurice Cheeks. The ultimate facilitator who ran an offense that featured Andrew Toney, Moses Malone, and Julius Erving, Cheeks was the glue that held it all together for the Sixers. He was the 14th pick in the 2nd round for Philadelphia, coming out of a small school in the south, West Texas A&M University.

He played the majority of his career with the franchise that drafted him. His scoring numbers won’t jump off the screen, but his assists and steals were what made him most valuable. He helped the Sixers win a championship in 1983 while earning four All-Star nods and becoming a 5x All-Defensive player. He is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame and is ranked sixth all-time in steals.

Andrew Toney | 1980 NBA Draft

One of the best nicknames in Philadelphia sports history was given to this player. Andrew Toney was selected by the 76ers in the first round of the 1980 NBA Draft. As the eighth overall pick out of Southwestern Louisiana, he earned the nickname “The Boston Strangler” for his offensive outbursts against the Celtics.

By his third year, Toney became an All-Star while averaging 19.7 points a game in the 1982-83 season. A potent scorer who could knock down shots inside and outside, Andrew Toney made one more All-Star team before suffering foot injuries before the age of 30. He helped the Sixers win a title in 1983 and will go down as one of the best two-guards in franchise history.

Allen Iverson | 1996 NBA Draft

Speaking of cool nicknames…

Allen Iverson, AKA “The Answer,” was the unanimous No. 1 pick in the 1996 NBA Draft. His Georgetown highlights were enough to convince any team general manager to pull the trigger on picking Iverson. Luckily, the 76ers had the first pick, and it was historic.

The 6-foot guard from Hampton, Virginia, brought energy and swagger to Philly that had never been seen before from a guard. He electrified crowds with his killer crossovers and dazzling dunks. Within just five years, he led the Sixers to the NBA Finals in a memorable matchup against the Lakers.

Although the 76ers were unable to win a title, Iverson’s legacy in Philadelphia will live on. He was the 1996 Rookie of the Year and led the league in scoring four times. Iverson was also an 11x All-Star, earning him a spot in the Basketball Hall of Fame and on the NBA 75th Anniversary Team.