In the past 15 years, fans of the Philadelphia 76ers haven’t had a lot of reasons to be excited. There was the deep playoff run that took the team to the 2001 NBA Finals, but that ended with a 4-1 series loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. Recently, the team has become more synonymous with words like “mediocre” and “terrible.”
Philadelphia was often a franchise that featured a number of Hall of Fame players, but long gone are the days where Julius Erving was one of the best forwards in the NBA from 1976 to 1987. The 76ers have also seen big names like Charles Barkley, Wilt Chamberlain and Moses Malone come through. The last great player who is now in the Hall of Fame was Allen Iverson after his 2010 retirement.
The last time Philadelphia played in the playoffs was in 2012 in a shortened NBA season. Since then, the team has won less and less games from the previous year. In the 2015-16 season, the 76ers only had 10 wins. The team has found themselves outside of the playoff pictures more times than they have during the last 15 seasons. The current season isn’t looking too promising.
And yet, there have been some quality players to come in and out of the organization. Every franchise has their good and their bad, even when a team like the 76ers have had more of the latter than other NBA franchises. The following are some of the best and some of the worst players in the Philadelphia 76ers’ organization since 2000.
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15 Best – Jahlil Okafor
It’s usually too early to put someone with less than three years of experience on a “best” list. But this might be an indicator of how poor the Philadelphia 76ers franchise has done in the past 15 years. Jahlil Okafor was the third overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft and there were some big expectations. Not only was he picked so high in the draft, he came out of the Duke University men’s basketball program led by head coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Okafor was the bright spot on a team that only had 10 wins for the entire 2015-16 season. In the 53 games he played last season, he showed potential with an average of 17.5 points, seven rebounds and more than one block per game. His participation has declined this season after issues with a reoccurring knee injury, but he could be a big factor when 100 percent healthy.
14 Worst – Tony Wroten
While Tony Wroten might have a career scoring average in the double figures, he’s certainly had struggles that make him worthy of being on the “worst” side of this list. After being moved to the Philadelphia 76ers after his rookie season with the Memphis Grizzlies, he’s struggled to find consistency behind the three-point line. In the 2012-13 season, Wroten made only 21.3 percent behind the arc while averaging 13 points.
The 2014-15 season wasn’t much better with a 26.1 percent rate in three-point range despite an average of 16.3 points per game. Wroten would then be sent to Philadelphia’s D-League team in Delaware before being waived multiple times between then and now. He has played in the NBA since he was demoted by 76ers during the 2014-15 season.
13 Best – Willie Green
Not all great players usually find themselves in the starting five. Players who can provide a spark coming off the bench deserve just as much respect to the regular starting lineup. Willie Green’s statistics are not going to amaze fans like some of the other names on this list, but for someone who has always been a spot starter or a sixth man waiting in the reserves, Green has succeeded.
Green was originally drafted by Seattle in the 2003 NBA Draft, but he was quickly traded to Philadelphia. During his seven seasons with the 76ers, Green averaged 9.4 points while playing less than 22 minutes per game. His best season came in 2007-08; shortly after Allen Iverson was traded. Green had more than 12 points per game. Overall, he played in 700 games for five teams before retiring in 2015.
12 Worst – Christian Wood
Christian Wood is a frustrating player to gauge. He had a great senior season with the University of Nevada-Las Vegas – a school known for great basketball talent – with 15.7 points and 10 rebounds per game in the 2014-15 season. He might not have been drafted in the 2015 NBA Draft, but he showed potential for being a steal as an undrafted free agent. During his rookie season with the Philadelphia 76ers, he wasn’t able to produce on the big stage. In 17 games, he averaged only 3.6 points.
The frustrating thing was that during the time he spent in the 76ers’ D-League team that same season, he was converting on 52.9 percent of his field goals for 17.3 points per game with the Delaware 87ers. Since then, he was moved to the Charlotte Hornets for this year. He’s failed to produce either for the Hornets or appear in games. The future is already looking bleak for the second-year player.
11 Best – Samuel Dalembert
As a center for Philadelphia from 2001 to 2010 before playing for multiple teams, Samuel Dalembert was a large man who was known for his rebounding abilities. He averaged just under eight rebounds per game in his 886 career games, including a career high 10.4 rebounds per game in the 2007-08 season. However, at 6'11", Dalembert was also skilled in blocking shots. He had stayed around a 2.0 blocks per game average for most of the 2000s.
While the 76ers have had inconsistent players, Dalembert was someone the 76ers could depend on. He started all but two games in the four-season period between 2006 and 2010. His numbers did fall as he bounced around between Sacramento, Houston, Milwaukee, Dallas and New York in his final five seasons in the NBA.
10 Worst – Larry Drew II
Larry Drew had a moderate amount of success when he played in the NBA from 1980 to 1991 – mostly for the Kansas City Kings as they moved to Sacramento before finishing up with the Los Angeles Lakers. He averaged 11.4 points per game in more than 700 career games in the NBA. His son, Larry Drew II, did not make the “like father, like son” statement 100 percent true. While he did end up in the NBA, Drew II failed to generate points.
Drew II was an undrafted free agent out of UCLA signed to play for the Philadelphia 76ers for the 2014-15 season. In 12 appearances, he had only 3.8 points per game while averaging more than 18 minutes. He would be part of the NBA D-League championship team, the Sioux Falls Skyforce in 2016.
9 Best – Aaron McKie
Sometimes, a player needs a change of scenery to be able to play at his best. After years of being mostly a spot reserve player for Portland and Detroit for the first four season of his career, Aaron McKie was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in the middle of the 1997-98 NBA season. It took some time, but he was able to find a role as a bench shooting guard in the 76ers offense.
During Philadelphia’s deep playoff run in the 2000-01 season, McKie averaged 11.6 points and five assists per game. That number increased to 12.2 points in the 2001-02 season. Throughout his career, McKie shot 43.8 percent from the field and close to 78 percent from the free throw line. He wasn’t a top name, but he was a serviceable sixth man during the team’s better years.
8 Worst – Adonis Thomas
Sometimes, leaving college early can pay off for a basketball player. The NBA now only requires someone to be one season removed from high school and there are a number of freshmen who are one-and-done in college basketball. However, not everyone benefits from leaving before earning their degree. Adonis Thomas had averaged 11.7 points per game on a Memphis team that went to the Sweet 16 in 2013.
He went undrafted in the 2013 NBA Draft and signed with and released by the Atlanta Hawks. He would play a few games for the Orlando Magic before being traded to the 76ers during the 2013-14 season. In six games, he averaged just 2.3 points per game. His numbers weren’t much better in the NBA D-League. Thomas is now playing in Europe in hopes of earning another chance.
7 Best – Eric Snow
Eric Snow’s career averages might not sound like someone who should be included among the best in a franchise. Snow spent most of the 1990s barely seeing any action with the Seattle Super Sonics before being traded to the 76ers. It turned out to be a great move for Snow that took some time. After three seasons of scoring under 10 points per game, he enjoyed a three-season run wherein he played more than 36 minutes per game and converted on 43.6 percent of his field goals.
Snow’s best season with Philadelphia came in the 2001-02 season with averages of 12.1 points and 6.6 rebounds. His best game was a 26-point, five rebounds and five assist game against Washington. After leaving for Cleveland from 2004 to 2008, Snow struggled for scoring opportunities before he eventually retired from the NBA.
6 Worst – Drew Gordon
UCLA is considered one of the best college basketball programs of all time. Drew Gordon was an exception as he struggled in college before transferring to the University of New Mexico. While undrafted, Gordon took a long road to find himself in the NBA. After playing for multiple teams in the Europe, he finally had a chance with Philadelphia in the 2014-15 NBA season.
While playing for the 76ers’ D-League team in Delaware, he averaged 13 points and 10.6 rebounds in 41 games that year. However, during the nine games he played in Philadelphia, he didn’t even average two points per game. He also made just 50 percent of his free throws. Gordon would ultimately find himself out of the NBA and is now playing for a team in Lithuania.
5 Best – Dikembe Mutumbo
When Dikembe Mutumbo was traded to Philadelphia from the Atlanta Hawks during the 2000-01 season, he wasn’t the same defensive presence who averaged more than four blocks per game. He was an aging giant, but a very effective one that helped the 76ers in their push to the NBA Finals in 2001. Between the 26 games in 2001 and the 80 games he played in 2001-02, he was averaging a double-double.
The 2001-02 season would prove to be his last great year as he failed to score more than six points per game during his time in New Jersey, New York and Houston. Despite playing in Philadelphia near the end of his prime, the 7-foot-2 center is still considered one of the best big men in NBA history and was great in his time as a Sixer.
4 Worst – Malcolm Thomas
Malcolm Thomas is the kind of player that bounces around the league and played less than a season for multiple teams before his NBA career ended in Philadelphia. The former star from San Diego State University was an undrafted player who first came to San Antonio in the 2011-12 season. He would then spend small stints in Chicago, Golden State, San Antonio and Utah for both the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons.
His time with the 76ers included a career-high in games played with 17 and also with an average of 11.4 minutes per game. But he only averaged 2.6 points per game in Philadelphia. It was barely higher than his career average of 1.9 points per game. He also made just 9.1 percent of his attempts from three-point range. After failed stints in the D-League, Thomas is now playing in the Chinese Basketball Association.
3 Best – Andre Iguodala
While Andre Iguodala is currently playing for the Golden State Warriors as a reservist, he’s been one of the best small forwards in recent memory. After being a top-10 selection by Philadelphia in the 2004 NBA Draft, Iguodala was a regular starter through the eight seasons he spent with the 76ers. During that time, he averaged 15.3 points per game while covering on 46 percent of his shots from the field.
The biggest year of his career came in the 2007-08 season when he nearly averaged 20 points and five assists per game. Iguodala would then spend one season with the Denver Nuggets (2012-13) before being part of the Golden State Warriors team since 2013. At least Iguodala won a championship ring with Golden State in 2015.
2 Worst – Darius Johnson-Odom
There are only so many roster spots available in the NBA, and it doesn’t take long before a player who can’t find the basket eventually finds a way out of the league. Darius Johnson-Odom was a second round pick out of Marquette University. The Los Angeles Lakers brought him in as a shooting guard, but he spent most of his time in the NBA’s D-League. For the small amount of time he spent in Los Angeles in his rookie season, he had zero points in four games.
It wasn’t much better when he came to Philadelphia for the 2013-14 season. In three games, Johnson-Odom played a grand total of five minutes and missed all of his field goal attempts. This was despite putting up more than 21 points per game between the Lakers’ and 76ers’ D-League teams during those two seasons. Johnson-Odom playing professionally in Italy.
1 Best – Allen Iverson
Whether or not he felt practice was necessary, Allen Iverson must have done enough to become one of the best shooting guards in NBA history. His dominance with the Philadelphia 76ers began when the former Georgetown Hoya was chosen first in the 1996 NBA Draft. Iverson would have a long career with more than 900 career games and an average of 26.7 points per game. The 11-time All Star only had one trip to the NBA Finals with the 76ers.
Iverson led Philadelphia to the 2001 NBA Finals after finishing the regular season with more than 31 points per game, but the 76ers would lose to Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers in only five games. Over the years, Iverson would move to Denver, Detroit and Memphis before finishing his career with the 76ers in 2010.
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