76ers

The 5 best Sixers starting 5s of all time

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The 5 best Sixers starting 5s of all time

Which are the best starting fives in Sixers history? 

In attempting to answer that question, we went back to the 1963-64 season, when the franchise moved to Philadelphia and adopted the “76ers” name, and looked for starting units with a mix of prodigious individual talent and cohesiveness. 

Julius Erving appears on our list three times, while the 2000-01 team is the most recent lineup. That’s where we’ll begin. 

5. 2000-01: Eric Snow, Allen Iverson, George Lynch, Tyrone Hill, Dikembe Mutombo
There were a few iterations of the ’00-01 Sixers’ starting five. Theo Ratliff made his only All-Star appearance and led the NBA in blocks per game, but the Sixers dealt him to the Hawks and acquired Mutombo in a six-player trade after Ratliff injured his wrist. Mutombo earned the Defensive Player of the Year award and was a central part of the team’s Finals run. Lynch and Snow weren’t regular starters during the playoffs because of injuries, but the two provided the defense and toughness Larry Brown loved. Oh yeah, and Iverson, generously listed at 6-feet and “bony as hell,” was the league’s Most Valuable Player. 

4. 1976-77: Henry Bibby, Doug Collins, Julius Erving, Caldwell Jones, George McGinnis 
ABA alumni McGinnis and Erving were All-Star starters in '76-77, McGinnis’ second season with the team and Erving’s first. They were joined in the Eastern Conference's All-Star starting lineup by Collins, who put up 18.3 points and 4.7 assists per game. The Sixers took a 2-0 lead in the Finals but dropped the next four games to Bill Walton and the Trail Blazers, a bitter end to a season full of drama and internal tension

3. 1984-85: Maurice Cheeks, Andrew Toney, Julius Erving, Charles Barkley, Moses Malone
On talent alone, these five names are the best starters in Sixers history. However, we have them at No. 3 because they were less successful than the ’82-83 team, winning seven fewer regular-season games and falling in the Eastern Conference Finals. Barkley was a rookie, Erving — while still very good — was a little past his prime, and the Celtics were the better team. Though Barkley started 60 games in the regular season, he came off the bench for all but the team's final two playoff games, with the Sixers giving the rookie over 30 minutes per contest but opening games with a veteran Bobby Jones. 

2. 1982-83: Maurice Cheeks, Andrew Toney, Julius Erving, Marc Iavaroni, Moses Malone 
This group went 12-1 in the postseason, including a sweep of Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the defending champion Lakers. The ’82-83 Sixers' starting lineup had three Hall of Fame players in Cheeks, Erving and Malone, the MVP and very large piece that got them over the hump. We also shouldn’t forget that Toney, otherwise known as “The Boston Strangler,” was an All-Star in his third season, posting 19.7 points and 4.5 assists a game. He didn’t have to worry about Boston that year as the Sixers blazed past the Knicks and Bucks on their way to the Finals. The team had another Hall of Famer on its bench in Jones, who won the inaugural Sixth Man of the Year award. 

1. 1966-67: Wali Jones, Hal Greer, Chet Walker, Luke Jackson, Wilt Chamberlain
The ’66-67 Sixers went 68-13 in the regular season and ended the Celtics’ run of eight straight championships. Hall of Famers Greer, Walker and Chamberlain were the marquee attractions, but the other starters complemented them extremely well. Philadelphia native and Villanova product Jones was a reliable point guard, and Jackson was a solid power forward/backup center hybrid. Chamberlain averaged 24.1 points, the low mark of his career at that stage, but was brilliant all around in winning a second consecutive MVP award, with a league-best 24.2 rebounds per game and 7.8 assists per game, third in the NBA. 

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Sixers Talk podcast: More NBA teams close facilities; Mike Scott opens up

Sixers Talk podcast: More NBA teams close facilities; Mike Scott opens up

On this edition of the Sixers Talk podcast, we discuss more NBA teams shutting down their facilities, Mike Scott not liking the league's jersey idea and much more — including Marc Zumoff's exclusive interview with Allen Iverson. 

(0:46) — Bucks, Kings shut practice facilities after receiving COVID-19 test results
(10:16) — Mike Scott calls NBA's jersey message plan a 'bad miss'
(17:06) — Allen Iverson interview with Marc Zumoff.

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Mike Scott wants focus to remain on racial equality but thinks NBA jersey idea is 'terrible'

Mike Scott wants focus to remain on racial equality but thinks NBA jersey idea is 'terrible'

As the Sixers have made more players available leading up to the NBA’s attempt at a restart, we’ve gotten a little perspective on the idea of the “bubble” and playing games with no fans in Disney World.

Players have talked about the global pandemic and protests against racial inequality and police brutality continuing in the country. While there’s been a couple concerns raised, you can’t help but wonder if we’re getting the players’ true feelings on the entire situation.

If there’s one thing we’ve come to know about Mike Scott, it’s that you’ll never be left wondering what he was thinking after he speaks. In a video conference call with reporters Monday, Scott voiced serious concerns over returning to play.

Yeah,” Scott said when asked if it’s hard to get excited to play again. “Just trying to change your mentality from what’s going on and being with your family and making sure they’re safe and racism, coronavirus, and then turn and switch it on to go to Orlando and playing basketball. Easier said than done.

"Most people would [think] it should be pretty easy, just think about basketball, but I don’t know, man. It’s tough. Just thinking about it after what’s gone on the past couple months. I’ve been dealing with that and just trying to work out every day, get my mind ready for Orlando, but at the same time how can you not look and focus on everything else that’s going on? It’s definitely tough.

While always honest, Scott is generally one of the more positive players on the team. He’s always good for a quote that’ll get people talking and for his brutally honest assessments of how he played.

Monday’s media session was sobering. It was obvious in the 15 or so minutes that he spoke with reporters that he still has a lot of raw emotion in the wake of the death of George Floyd and similar incidents that have occurred around the country.

A lot of anger, disappointment,” Scott said. “Just questioning a lot of stuff like, ‘What’s going on in this world? How can people be so evil?’ Just a lot of anger, man. Mostly just anger. Using my platform … I’m more reserved, laid back, and I’m more of let’s just do it instead of just talking about it. Just go out there and just do it. … There was a lot of anger and [I'm] still angry.

Health and safety concerns are paramount to the NBA’s return, but so too is making sure that in a league made up of predominantly Black athletes, the voices of the players are heard. Several players expressed concern of an NBA return taking away from racial equality causes. 

The league will reportedly try to help players “call attention to racial equality, social justice and police brutality.” “Black Lives Matter” will reportedly be painted on all three courts in Disney World, according to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne and Zach Lowe.

Another step the league is reportedly taking is allowing players to have messages on the back of their jerseys instead of their last names. The phrases come from an approved list of 29 agreed upon by the NBA and NBPA, per Marc J. Spears of ESPN's The Undefeated.

Scott isn’t sure what the best way to keep spreading these messages is, but he’s not a fan of the jersey idea. He wishes the players could’ve had more input.

They gave us some names and phrases to put on the back of jerseys,” Scott said. “That was terrible. It was a bad list, bad choice. They didn’t give players a chance to voice their opinion on it. They just gave us a list to pick from. That was bad. That’s terrible. Just voice your opinion, how you feel. 

“I don’t know how you can use your platform. I don’t know. Vote. Of course, vote. See what laws we can change. But I’m all about just doing, instead of just saying or posting or putting something on the back of your jersey. I don’t think that’s going to stop anything. I don’t know how you do it. I don’t know.

While Scott is glad to have his teammates to lean on, he still can’t help but be affected by what’s happening outside his own bubble.

“A lot of dialogue with teammates and coaches, especially with Tobias [Harris],” Scott said. “He’s been keeping us together and me and him have been talking every day about what’s going on in the world. It’s just a lot of frustration. Just a terrible time, a crazy time right now.”

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