The Philadelphia 76ers are one of the most iconic and well-known franchises in basketball history, and the City of Brotherly love has always been tied to this beautiful sport with one of the fiercest and most loyal and passionate fan bases of all professional sports.
Philly has won 3 NBA Championships but hasn’t taken the Larry O’Brien trophy home since the 1983 campaign despite having some very decent and competitive squads, most recently led by Allen Iverson, who couldn’t get pass Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal in those 2001 NBA Finals.
Ever since then and in recent years, the Sixers have struggled to remain competitive, sending away most of their assets like Andre Iguodala or Jrue Holiday in order to pile up Draft picks and tank in order to find some franchise players that can take the team back to their former glory.
After several seasons of being the league’s laughing stock, it seems like “the process” is finally paying off, with standout talents like Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz and even Dario Saric landing at Philly. Nonetheless, they’ve also struck out on great prospects in recent years.
Today, we’re going to let you know about the top 5 Draft mistakes ever made by the Philadelphia 76ers, not just because of the players they picked, but because of the players they could’ve had instead.
5. Sharone Wright (6th pick) – 1994 NBA Draft
After Glenn Robinson, Jason Kidd and Grant Hill, things went pretty much south when we talk about talent in the 1994 draft class, but it’s still kind of surprising to see the Sixers going with Sharone Wright as high as 6th, with the Clemson product only being able to stay in the league for as much as 4 seasons.
Through his career, Wright averaged 9.7 points and 5 rebounds per game, while the Sixers could’ve gone with Eddie Jones (14.8 points, 4 boards and 2.9 assists with 3 All-Stars and 3 All-Defensive squads) or Jalen Rose (14.3 points, 3.5 boards, 3.8 dimes and one MIP award) instead.
4. Michael Carter-Williams (11th pick) – 2013 NBA Draft
Michael Carter-Williams looked like a very well round up point guard that could become a triple-double machine and a terrific defender, and an overall superstar prospect if he was able to work on his shot and develop a consistent offensive game.
As a matter of fact, he was pretty good right out of the gate, winning the Rookie of the Year award with averages of 16.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, 6.3 dimes and 1.9 steals per game, but his constant injuries and nagging pains really took a toll on his overall development, to the point that he’s barely a rotation player for the Hornets now. Besides, Philly could’ve landed Dennis Schroder, Tim Hardaway Jr, Rudy Gobert or Giannis Antetokounmpo instead.
3. Jahlil Okafor (3rd Pick) – 2015 NBA Draft
Jahlil Okafor was considered to be the best player of his class by most scouts throughout the whole year until eventually Karl-Anthony Towns outgrew him en route to becoming the 1st overall pick. Still, it was quite surprising to see Jah drop all the way to 3rd with the Lakers picking D’Angelo Russell, so it looked like the Sixers were getting quite a bargain there.
Okafor was quite productive during the first passages of the season, but struggled to improve on the defensive end of the floor and wound up being a spacing nightmare. Sadly for everybody involved, the team was reckless to let him play and even refused to buy him out, and even though he may still become a very solid center, the Sixers should be regretting the fact that they could’ve gone with Myles Turner, Devin Booker or Kristaps Porzingis with that pick.
2. Evan Turner (2nd Pick) – 2010 NBA Draft
Right after the Wizards took John Wall with the 1st overall pick, Philly decided to go with Evan Turner out of Ohio State, but the guard-forward was horrid in both ends of the floor during his Sixers tenure, posting averages of 11.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.9 turnovers in 43% from the floor and roughly 31% from deep, eventually dealing him to the Indiana Pacers.
Taking a look back and considering how loaded that Draft class was, it’s pretty obvious that Derrick Favors, Eric Bledsoe, Hassan Whiteside Gordon Hayward, Avery Bradley, Paul George, DeMarcus Cousins could’ve all have been much better options than Turner was and will ever be for the Sixers.
1. Shawn Bradley (2nd Pick) – 1993 NBA Draft
Shawn Bradley was a very solid player throughout his entire career, and after Chris Webber went 1st overall to the Orlando Magic, there wasn’t much to do there but with the obvious choice, a big man with a lot of upsides but that was still pretty rough in both ends of the floor.
Sadly for Philadelphia, Bradley was never able to live up to his true potential, and going as high as 2nd has to be a major bust for them. Through his career, he averaged 8.1 points and 6.3 boards per contest, and he was only a part of the franchise for 3 full seasons. Needless to say, they should definitely regret the fact that they chose him over Sam Cassell or Anfernee Hardaway.