The Philadelphia 76ers have been one of the most successful franchises in the NBA during the team’s 52-year history in the City of Brotherly Love which includes two championships, Hall of Famers, superstars, and many playoff appearances. Today, I am recognizing and ranking the best five 76ers players at each of the five positions in basketball: point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, and center.
1) Four factors went into play in creating this list: personal statistics, team success, longevity, and impact on the team and the city of Philadelphia.
2) Players are only ranked by their playing time in Philadelphia & not for any other teams in the NBA (ie Dikembe Mutombo)
3) Players who primarily played with the Syracuse Nationals (1946-1963) are not included on this list, so players like Dolph Schayes, Red Kerr, Lee Shaffer, Archie Clark, and Larry Costello will not appear in the ranking.
4) Most of the players who were selected were involved in the three most successful periods in 76ers basketball: 1964-1971, 1975-1987, and 1998-2003.
Without further ado, here is the list:
While there hasn’t been much star power in 76ers point guard history (no Hall of Famers on this list), there have been solid floor generals that had varying skill sets in different stretches in the team’s long history in Philadelphia. Four of the five point guards made the NBA Finals with the Sixers, but one is more famous for being the best player on the worst 76ers team ever.
1) Maurice Cheeks (11 seasons, 1978-1989)
Resume: 4-time All-Star, 5-time All-Defensive team, appeared in three NBA Finals (1980,1982,1983), NBA champion (1983), No. 10 retired by the 76ers
– With the 36th overall pick (the 2nd round) of the 1978 NBA Draft, the Sixers drafted a relatively unknown point guard from small West Texas A&M University: Maurice Cheeks. The 4-time All-Star led the 76ers deep into the playoffs as the team’s starting point guard. Though he was a relatively quiet, reserved person, Cheeks showed his true character on the court as he currently ranks 11th all-time in assists & 5th all-time in steals in NBA history. During his 11 seasons in Philly, Cheeks was selected to the All-Defense team five times, as well as ranking third in team history in career games, and first in steals and assists in team history. The most remembered moment of Cheeks’ 76er career occurred in Game 4 of the 1983 NBA Finals, as he dribbled out the clock in an empathic celebration dunking the ball as time expired with the 76ers winning the championship. He was a key component for the team that was finally able to win the NBA Championship & his #10 hangs in the rafters at the Wells Fargo Center. He is by far the greatest point guard in 76ers history.
2) Wali Jones (7 seasons, 1965-1971)
Resume: NBA Champion (1967)
– Wali Jones was the starting point guard of the 1966-1967 76ers (68-13) that took the league by storm and won the NBA championship. A native of Philadelphia (attended Overbrook High School & Villanova University), Jones replaced the injured Larry Costello as a starting guard in January of 1967 and didn’t relinquish his starting spot until 1970. With the starting unit of Jones, Hal Greer, Chet Walker, Luke Jackson, & Wilt Chamberlain, the Sixers were unstoppable in their pursuit of a championship.
3) Eric Snow (7 seasons, 1997-2004)
Resume: NBA All-Defensive 2nd Team (2003), NBA Sportsmanship Award (2000), appeared in one NBA Finals (2001)
– Many fans were scratching their heads when the Sixers traded for back-up Seattle SuperSonics point guard Eric Snow during the 1997-1998 season for a future second round pick. Snow was immediately named the starting point guard by head coach Larry Brown after only averaging 18 minutes a game in Seattle. Snow became a great compliment to the Sixers franchise player, Allen Iverson during successful seasons in the late-1990s and early-2000s, including a trip to the 2001 NBA Finals. As a pass-first, defensive minded point guard (6’3, 190), he matched up against most teams shooting guards so that the smaller Iverson could guard the opposing shorter point guards. Snow was a model of consistency for the team as a solid point guard who ran the offense during some of Allen Iverson’s best seasons. He was a good defender, a great leader, and a great person in the Philadelphia community. His best moment as a Sixer was his running jumper with 12 seconds remaining in overtime of Game 1 of the NBA Finals with the shot clock set to expire to give the Sixers a 4-point lead (105-101) and seal a Game 1 upset victory for the Sixers over the Lakers.
(Skip to 4:15 in the video)
Eric Snow Runner
4) Henry Bibby (4 years, 1976-1980)
Resume: 2 NBA Finals appearances (1977, 1980)
– Henry Bibby was probably better known as the Sixers player with the huge afro and porno moustache, but he was a very solid point guard during his four seasons as the point guard in Philadelphia in the late 70s. Bibby only missed one game in four seasons and was the orchestrator of a fast-running, high-scoring offense that featured some of the best scorers in the entire league, like George McGinnis, Doug Collins, Julius Erving, and World B. Free. He appeared in two NBA Finals with the team & was a model of consistency running the point.
5) Fred Carter (6 seasons, 1972-1977)
Resume: Led the 76ers in scoring three times (1973-1975)
– Who was the leading scorer of the worst team in NBA history ? The answer would be Freddy Carter. The 1972-1973 76ers finished the season with the worst record in NBA history in terms of wins and losses, as they went 9-73 during the season with Fred Carter leading the team in scoring, averaging 20 points a game. Carter’s first four Sixers teams struggled mightily (30, 9, 25, & 34 wins), but Carter became part of one of the better backcourt duos in the mid-70s with Doug Collins. With the infusion of talent like George McGinnis, Steve Mix, Darryl Dawkins, & Julius Erving, Carter’s teams were more successful in the following two seasons (back-to-back playoff appearances). The 1976-1977 Sixers went to the NBA Finals but Carter was traded during the season for two second round picks (one became the #1 PG on this list: Maurice Cheeks).