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Ranking the top 11 Allen Iverson sidekicks

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Ranking the top 11 Allen Iverson sidekicks

With time on our hands because of the coronavirus pandemic, looking back on the Allen Iverson era has been a source of positivity.

With that in mind, we went back and ranked all of the prominent Iverson sidekicks over his 10-plus seasons with the Sixers.

11. Glenn Robinson 

After dueling with Iverson in the playoffs a couple years prior, “Big Dog” joined the Sixers for a one-year stint in 2003-04. Robinson simply wasn’t the same player that was the No. 1 overall pick in 1994 and a two-time All-Star with the Bucks. 

He played in just 42 games as the Sixers went 33-49 and failed to reach the playoffs in the first season after parting ways with Larry Brown. Robinson played just nine games with San Antonio the following season and then retired.

10. Larry Hughes

The eighth overall pick in 1998, Hughes was supposed to team up with Iverson to make a formidable duo for years to come. But "The Flight Brothers" barely got off the ground before Hughes was shipped off in the Toni Kukoc deal. Hughes played exactly 100 games for the Sixers and went on to have a solid NBA career.

Hughes will always be remembered more for the players the Sixers could've drafted instead. Just as a painful reminder, the Sixers passed on a couple guys named Paul Pierce and Dirk Nowitzki to select Hughes.

9. Matt Harpring

This was less about Harpring’s play — he was OK in his one season (81 games) with the Sixers — but more about the timing and the success of the team. The Sixers were coming off their loss to the Lakers in the Finals and that banged-up team thought they were going to get another crack at a title. 

Instead, a few of the key cogs were traded — including Tyrone Hill and Jumaine Jones, who were part of the deal for Harpring. The team went 43-39 and was eliminated in the first round by the Celtics. Harpring was much more productive for the Jazz over the next few seasons.

8. Andre Iguodala

This is more of a “what could’ve been” situation, though they played parts of three seasons together. Iguodala was branded as “The Other AI” after being drafted ninth overall in 2004 as Iverson’s time here was winding down. He came into the league with lofty comparisons to Scottie Pippen. 

Peak Iguodala, who won a Finals MVP and was a three-time NBA champ with the Warriors, next to peak Iverson would’ve been something. Alas, the duo’s time wasn’t very successful as Iverson’s relationship with the team had soured. He was traded in the middle of Iguodala’s third season.

7. Chris Webber 

This one is conflicting for me. On one hand, Webber had an outstanding NBA career and actually played pretty well in his one full season as a Sixer. He wasn’t the same player he was with the Kings, but he averaged over 20 points a game — which is no small feat playing next to Iverson. 

With that said, the duo’s star power wasn’t enough to even get that team into the playoffs. Then the infamous Fan Appreciation Night fiasco sealed the fate of Webber and Iverson as both were traded the following season. 

6. Keith Van Horn 

It may be surprising to see Van Horn this high, but hear me out. First of all, Van Horn should’ve started his career as a Sixer. They drafted him No. 2 overall and then traded him for what became Tim Thomas, Anthony Parker (not to be confused with Tony), Jim Jackson and Eric Montross. But since Larry Brown simply loved to re-acquire players, Van Horn came back to the Sixers in 2002-03. 

During that season, Van Horn provided a nice complement to Iverson, averaging 15.9 points a game. In Brown’s final season here, the team went 48-34 and was eliminated in the second round by an ascending Pistons team. Van Horn was traded yet again that offseason in the deal that got the Sixers Robinson. 

5. Derrick Coleman

Speaking of conflicting, Brown’s favorite player seems to be a nice fit here at five. Coleman was a skilled big with a high basketball IQ, but never seemed to quite live up to lofty expectations as a No. 1 overall pick. That’s part of the reason the Nets traded him to the Sixers in the deal for Shawn Bradley.

While Coleman did get to play with a very young Iverson, he also had a second stint with the Sixers. He gets this high on this list because of his strong playoff run as the team’s center in 2002-03. The Sixers took the Pistons to six games that year and Coleman had a big series (16.5 points, 11 rebounds per game). Though he wasn’t there for the peak of the team's success during Iverson’s run here, he played decently alongside the Hall of Famer.

4. Toni Kukoc 

The “Croatian Sensation” was coming off a career year with the Bulls. A key cog in Chicago’s championship runs, Kukoc appeared to be ready for a bigger NBA role. With his success playing alongside Michael Jordan, it seemed feasible that Kukoc could co-exist with a star like Iverson. 

Plagued by back issues and not quite fitting in, Kukoc lasted 80 games with the Sixers and was part of the Dikeme Mutombo trade in 2001. Kukoc had his moments and the team did find success with him, but ultimately the addition of Mutombo was much more valuable.

3. Eric Snow

Say what you want about Snow, he was the perfect type of point guard to play next to Iverson. It was Snow’s defense and unselfishness that allowed Iverson to play as a small two guard. 

While it was Iverson who hit the step over shot, it was Snow’s runner — on a bum ankle — with under a minute left in OT that sealed the Sixers’ Game 1 win in L.A. in 2001. Snow spent seven seasons with the Sixers and Iverson. Not bad for a guy that was acquired for a second-round pick.

2. Dikembe Mutombo

Speaking of defense, Mutombo was an enormous part of that magical run in 2001. The Defensive Player of the Year in 2000-01 filled a large void left by the injury to Theo Ratliff, who was traded along with Kukoc to Atlanta.

Where Mutombo shined the most was the Eastern Conference Finals. He provided a surprise scoring punch against Milwaukee, averaging 16.6 points a game in that series. While nobody could stop Shaquille O’Neal during that time, Mutombo did an admirable job and kept the Sixers in almost every game of that series. He was solid again the following season, but was traded after the Sixers were bounced in the first round.

1. Aaron McKie

The nod goes to McKie as much for emotional support as it does his play on the court.

“He helped me so much in my career,” Iverson said when he officially retired in 2013. “I talk about the mistakes that I made in my career. I made a million of them, but if it weren’t for Aaron McKie, I would have made two million of them. He is just somebody I always listened to and could talk to about anything.”

McKie was acquired along with Ratliff in the deal that sent Jerry Stackhouse to Detroit. The Temple product wasn’t a star and the Sixers were already his third NBA team in just four seasons. In fact, it took a couple seasons for McKie to find his stride as a Sixer. 

Yet another important piece in 2001, McKie emerged during that run, averaging 14.6 points a game and shooting 42.2 percent from three in the playoffs. He also took home the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award that season.

McKie spent parts of eight seasons with Iverson and the Sixers. There are Hall of Famers and multiple-time All-Stars on this list, but none made the impact McKie did on Iverson.

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Sixers will begin phased reopening of practice facility Wednesday

Sixers will begin phased reopening of practice facility Wednesday

The Sixers will begin a phased reopening of their practice facility in Camden, New Jersey, on Wednesday for voluntary, individual workouts, the team announced.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced Tuesday that professional sports teams in New Jersey are now permitted to resume training and competition, which opened the door for the Sixers.

NBA teams had been allowed to hold individual workouts for players beginning on May 8 with strict restrictions in place. Because of coronavirus-related restrictions imposed in New Jersey, the Sixers hadn’t been among the teams holding workouts. However, general manager Elton Brand did say that Ben Simmons had been allowed to use the team’s practice facility to do rehab work for a nerve impingement in his lower back.

“Ben and others have been given permission to use our facility,” Brand said on May 5. “It’s essential that they have the proper equipment to workout and rehab, so he’s been doing that ever since the first week. We were able to get him access there. Joel Embiid’s been working out. He’s conditioning, he’s focused, he’s asking about when his trainer can come in, when he can get on the court.

"So I wouldn’t bet against him. He’s going to be ready and ramped up. Tobias [Harris] is a similar situation. He’s been getting treatment on and off. Most of our players are in market, by the way. Tobias is in market and he’s been getting treatment also.”

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe reported last week that teams expect the league to issue guidelines around June 1 on recalling players who have left their markets, and for workouts to expand around the same time.

The NBA announced Saturday that it is engaged in “exploratory conversations” about resuming the 2019-20 season at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, in late July. The season has been suspended since March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

On May 15, head coach Brett Brown said he thought a three-week ramp-up period would likely be sufficient before returning to play. 

“The notion of how the players come in influences kind of everything,” Brown said. “The three-week thing I think can be achieved as long as the fitness base of the players coming in is at the standard that I’m saying,” he said. “With that … I feel comfortable that we could go play basketball again.”

Though the team's facility reopening for individual workouts is not a massive step, it does appear that the NBA is moving toward a resumption. Wojnarowski has reported that, "barring something unforeseen," the widespread expectation is that commissioner Adam Silver will clear a return in June. 

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2020 NBA free agency: 6 bigs the Sixers could target this offseason

2020 NBA free agency: 6 bigs the Sixers could target this offseason

Another big man may not be high on the priority list for the Sixers this offseason, but a lot can change between when/if the season resumes and when next season starts.

Will the Sixers try to move Al Horford’s contract? Does the team trust Norvel Pelle to take on a bigger role next season? Would Kyle O’Quinn consider returning after he reportedly asked to be waived?

Here are six bigs that could fit the Sixers in free agency depending on how everything shakes out.

Marc Gasol

Gasol is most known around these parts for being a thorn in Joel Embiid’s side. A former Defensive Player of the Year, Gasol is big, smart and physical — a combination that has caused Embiid serious difficulty. He’s not the offensive player he was in his prime, but he can still shoot it (40.2 percent from three), pass it (3.4 assists) and is an excellent screen setter.

At 35, it will be interesting see what kind of offers Gasol will get. The only scenario in which the Sixers would likely be able to make it work is if they successfully trade Horford and his massive contract. Is it worth taking a shot on Gasol with the team’s mid-level exception? With the Sixers having other pressing needs, it’s a tough call. Gasol would make an excellent Embiid backup and mentor.

Aron Baynes

Baynes had a solid run in Boston and was having a strong season in Monty Williams’ system in Phoenix. The Sixers were the first team to experience Baynes’ evolution as a three-point shooter in the 2018 playoffs. He was hitting 35 percent on over four attempts a game before the 2019-20 season was suspended. He also has proven to be a solid post defender and screen setter.

This is going to be all about what Baynes’ preferences are. If he wants to get paid like a starting center, the Sixers aren’t the team for him. If he’s willing to accept a backup role to Embiid on a lesser deal, there’s a possibility. It seems more likely Baynes could find a better situation, but he’d be a solid option for the Sixers if he can’t.

Alex Len

Len hasn’t lived up to the status of being the fifth overall pick, but he’s become a solid rotational NBA big. His career numbers per 36 minutes are solid: 14.6 points, 11.5 rebounds, 1.8 blocks. Though he struggled to hit threes this season, he’s had some success for a big (33 percent for his career).

Still just 26, there could be a team that views Len as having a higher ceiling. Being so young, he also could value playing time and money over being a reserve on a contender. Like Baynes, if he can’t find a better situation, the Sixers could do worse in a backup center.

Noah Vonleh

Vonleh is another top-10 pick that hasn’t quite panned out but has shown he can be a serviceable NBA player. After a strong campaign for the Knicks in 2018-19, Vonleh had a tough year for the Timberwolves. He was eventually shipped to the Nuggets in that crazy four-team deal ahead of the trade deadline.

Signing Vonleh would be similar to when the Sixers signed O’Quinn this past offseason. He won’t have a definitive role but could be a nice insurance policy if there are injuries and Pelle struggles. Though he’s only 24, the price shouldn’t be high given his struggles in Minnesota this season.

Dario Saric

If you’re reading this, you should know all about this guy. Saric hasn’t been the same player since he was dealt to the Timberwolves in the Jimmy Butler trade. Still, he’s played a solid role for Williams in Phoenix. Saric has flashed the combination of skill and grit he did here, but his lack of athleticism has limited him.

Saric is a true four. Though you could get away with using Saric as a small-ball five in certain lineups, you wouldn’t want him back there for an extended period of time with a true NBA center. Saric did love his time here and played the best basketball of his NBA career. He's a restricted free agent so the Suns would likely have to rescind his rights for the Sixers to have a chance. If the price is right, you can’t rule out a reunion.

Markieff Morris

The Philly native was having a good year in Detroit before being bought out and signing with the Lakers. He’s struggled with his shot during his eight-game stint in L.A. but was hitting just below 40 percent of his threes with the Pistons. Morris plays with an edge and could bring that physical style and attitude back home.

Morris could be repetitive with Mike Scott already signed for next season. Though Scott struggled this year, he’d come on a bit before the season was suspended and looked more like the player we saw during last year's playoff run.

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