Philadelphia 76ers Five Biggest NBA Draft in the Club’s History
By Space Coast Daily // November 16, 2023
Even the Philadelphia 76ers, a proud team, have erred from time to time, particularly during the NBA Draft.
The Sixers had no possibility of a flop this year because they did not have a pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.
But the talk about NBA Draft busts is always so entertaining. If only they had chosen more wisely, it hurts to think of who the team could have chosen in their place.
But when you go back and recall their experiences, you can always find a nice laugh. Philadelphia is not exempt from this, too, as the team has amassed several draft flops throughout the years. Our NBA Expert Picks examine the top five NBA Draft busts in Philadelphia 76ers history here.
- Evan Turner (2010)
He wasn’t deserving. In 2010, Philadelphia was fortunate enough to secure the second pick. They still failed to catch the ball, though. Evan Turner, who had just won National Player of the Year before joining the NBA, had a lot of potential, in retrospect. Nevertheless, in just four seasons before being traded, he only averaged 11.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 3.2 assists a game. Remember that Paul George, Gordon Hayward, and DeMarcus Cousins were passed up in favour of the Ohio State player.
- Shawn Bradley (1993)
You should be aware that a lot of eyes are on you when you are selected second overall in the draft. While it may not carry as much weight as first place, second place is still very highly regarded. Shawn Bradley, however, was not up to par. Furthermore, the business might have been able to get Penny Hardaway in its place and, in a matter of years, even matched him with Allen Iverson.
They acquired a 7-foot-6 big man in Shawn Bradley, but his averages per game were just 9.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 1.1 assists. He was frequently pushed around in the paint, and he just didn’t have the same impact on the floor that was first expected of him. After playing in 143 games in less than three seasons, he was eventually traded to the New Jersey Nets.
- Markelle Fultz (2017)
Recall how this ended up. Simply put, pressure is different when the top overall choice is secured. In another existence, Philadelphia might have signed Donovan Mitchell or Jayson Tatum, two excellent young players. Sadly, Markelle Fultz appeared to have lost his basketball shooting skills as a result of the strain.
His 76ers stats were 7.7 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game with less than 40 games played. The child didn’t live up to everyone’s great expectations, though. Fortunately for him, after a few seasons marred by injuries, it appears like he is finally settling into his groove with the Orlando Magic.
- Leon Wood (1984)
Leon Wood was selected by the 76ers with the tenth pick. His averages per game were a letdown—4.1 points, 0.7 rebounds, and 1.8 assists. Which aspect is the worst? They missed out on John Stockton, one of the best point guards in NBA history. Nevertheless, Charles Barkley proved to be a saviour for the front office earlier in the same draft. As a result, they get off lightly for giving the dog the wrong pick (10th overall).
Still, it’s unsettling to consider how strong the squad may have been if Barkley and Stockton had been together. Both of them may have engaged in combat in the NBA Finals, rather than the Utah Jazz facing Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. One more “what if” scenario about which we can only conjecture.
- Larry Hughes (1998)
That one ached. The 76ers passed up on Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce in favour of Larry Hughes, who they selected with their eighth pick in the first round. This “bust” had more to do with the other people who were on hand. Hughes was a talented athlete.
To put things in perspective, this was also the Allen Iverson period. Just picture Iverson running alongside players like Pierce or Nowitzki; imagine the spectacle that would have ensued. Hughes averaged a pitiful 9.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists a game in his meagre two seasons with the 76ers.
We can offer him some solace, though, because he did go on to lead the league in steals and was selected to the first All-Defensive team in Washington, D.C., later in 2004.
That being said, he was the worst draft bust of his Philadelphia days, and it hurts to consider what might have been. Maybe Iverson could have even delivered a title to the city with Nowitzki or Pierce.