Andre Iguodala

The 17 best Sixers of the 2000s

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The 17 best Sixers of the 2000s

Who are the best players to wear a Sixers uniform this century?

To answer that question, we combed through every player since the 2000-01 season who appeared in at least 50 regular-season games as a Sixer. That eliminated names like Toni Kukoc (48 games in 2000-01), Glenn “Big Dog” Robinson (42 games) and, unfortunately, Corey Brewer (an indelible seven games last season).

We considered both overall career — accounting for factors like peak level, longevity, significant accomplishments and awards — and impact/performance as a Sixer, giving the latter more weight. It wouldn't have been fair to ignore the career of a player such as Chris Webber, but he missed the cut because of his relatively brief, uninspiring tenure as a Sixer. This certainly isn’t a scientific exercise, but the method described seemed to be a reasonable approach. 

We tried to put together something resembling a 17-man roster, although the starting five is not exactly comprised of sharpshooters. Let’s say the 19-year-old versions of Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young are on two-way contracts. 

Starters 

Ben Simmons
He’s 23 years old and already has a Rookie of the Year award and two All-Star appearances.

Allen Iverson
As a refresher, Iverson in the 2000-01 campaign joined Wilt Chamberlain, Moses Malone and Julius Erving as the only Sixers to ever be named MVP. If someone decides to make this same list in 2099, he’ll be on it. 

Andre Iguodala
Iguodala racked up 61.2 win shares over eight seasons with the Sixers, ninth-most in franchise history. He’s also the only Finals MVP on this roster, though he of course didn’t earn the honor in Philadelphia. 

Jimmy Butler 
Butler was the most difficult case to evaluate. While he missed out on the All-Star Game last season, he was one of the main reasons the Sixers were about as close as a team can get to the Eastern Conference Finals. 

Joel Embiid
He’s the first Sixer since Iverson to be voted as a starter in three consecutive All-Star games. 

Bench 

Dikembe Mutombo 
The four-time Defensive Player of the Year, Hall of Famer and key member of the 2000-01 Finals team is a heck of a backup center.

Lou Williams
A gem of a second-round pick, Williams went from a teenager sitting and watching Iverson to one of the league’s better bench scorers. He now has three Sixth Man of the Year awards, tied for the most ever, and is averaging 18.7 points and 5.7 assists this year at 33 years old. 

JJ Redick
Redick’s two-man game with Embiid was an unpredictable staple of the Sixers’ offense. The 35-year-old posted 17.6 points per game and shot 40.7 percent from three-point range in his two years here. 

Jrue Holiday 
After Holiday’s All-Star season in 2012-2013, Sam Hinkie dealt him to the Pelicans in the Nerlens Noel trade. He hasn’t returned to the All-Star Game in seven seasons with New Orleans, though he's made a strong case on a couple of occasions. 

Andre Miller 
Miller was well above average for some mediocre Sixers teams — 15.9 points, 6.9 assists and 1.3 steals per game in 221 contests. We’ll turn to him off the bench if we’re ever facing a smaller point guard and need a methodical post scorer. 

Robert Covington 
An excellent off-ball defender and a decent, high-volume three-point shooter, Covington deserves a spot. 

Thaddeus Young 
Young was the best player on the 2013-14 Sixers, the first team of the Process era. He was reliable in six seasons before that, providing high energy and effort both as a starter and a bench player. 

Elton Brand
He didn’t come close to living up to his big free agent deal, but Brand was good enough for Adam Sandler’s character in “Uncut Gems,” oily jeweler/degenerate gambler Howard Ratner, to implore Kevin Garnett to “step on Elton Brand’s f---ing neck.” In all seriousness, Brand exceeded 20 points and 10 rebounds per game before coming to the Sixers, and he was still a solid player, albeit overpaid, when healthy enough to play in Philadelphia. 

Aaron McKie
An emotional Iverson immediately named McKie at his retirement press conference when asked about teammates that helped him during his career. The current Temple head coach wasn’t a tremendous player, but he did win the Sixth Man of the Year award in 2000-01 and clearly had a huge impact on Iverson. 

Eric Snow
Snow falls under the same umbrella as McKie, someone who didn't have the most impressive game but was a longtime teammate of Iverson’s, a valuable complementary piece and a leader. 

Tobias Harris
Putting aside the fact that he received the most expensive contract in Sixers history and the expectations that come with that label — which, admittedly, is a major caveat — Harris has been good. Since ending his 0-for-23 nightmare slump from three-point territory, he’s averaged exactly 20 points per game and shot 39.1 percent from three. 

Kyle Korver 
The 39-year-old Korver has made the fourth-most threes in NBA history, and he’s still at it. He tied for the league lead in made threes back in the 2004-05 season, his second year as a Sixer. 

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Sixers Home School: Should Andre Iguodala have won 2006 Slam Dunk Contest?

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Sixers Home School: Should Andre Iguodala have won 2006 Slam Dunk Contest?

There's a lot of home schooling going on right now, so why not use some of this time to learn more about the history of your favorite teams? In this edition of Sixers Home School, we look back at the 2006 NBA Slam Dunk Contest.

No Sixers player has ever won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest, but you can make a very good case that Andre Iguodala should have won back in 2006. In his second season, Iguodala squared off against Atlanta's Josh Smith, Memphis' Hakim Warrick and 5-foot-9 Nate Robinson of the Knicks. 

At the 11:00 mark of the video, you'll see Iguodala bring out Allen Iverson to assist him on one of the most incredible dunks you'll ever see. It took a couple tries to get it right, but Iverson throws the ball off the back of the backboard, and Iguodala comes running in from beyond the photographers to catch it and then soar through the air to dunk it on the other side of the rim. It earned Iguodala a 50 and it's fun to hear Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley and Magic Johnson going nuts. It's one of the most amazing dunks in the history of the contest.

After another impressive dunk at the 22:27 mark of the video, when Iguodala threw the ball up in the air, caught it on the bounce and went behind his back to dunk it, Kevin Harlan says "it's over."

But it wasn't over. At the 23:45 mark, Robinson calls out the original miniature dunker, Spud Webb, from the crowd. Robinson then jumped over Webb and threw down a fantastic dunk, getting the crowd on his side. Then at 27:15, Iguodala, needing a 45 to win, completed a between-the-legs lefty dunk that left the judges scrambling to decide what to do.

Kenny Smith and Clyde Drexler both gave the dunk an "8," and when the scores were added up, Iguodala received a 45, leading to a dunk-off with Robinson.

Ah, the dunk-off. From 29:00 to 33:30 in the video, you'll see Robinson try to complete a between-the-legs jump pass from midcourt, catch the ball of the backboard and dunk. He tries and fails 15 times before finally completing it. You'll get tired just watching him try and try again. Even though Robinson had to move closer to the three-point line to finally get the timing right, the completed dunk earned a 47 from the judges, meaning that Iguodala needed 48 for the win. 

At 34:55, you'll see Iguodala do a version of Isaiah Rider's "East Bay Funk Dunk" that won the 1994 dunk contest. But four of the five judges only gave Iguodala a 9, and his 46-point dunk gave Robinson the title by one point. At the 35:25 mark, you'll see Iverson say "We got robbed." Barkley agreed. Was Iguodala robbed? You can judge for yourself.

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Andre Iguodala's moment, the Andrew Bynum trade and the brink of the Process

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Andre Iguodala's moment, the Andrew Bynum trade and the brink of the Process

On May 10, 2012, Andre Iguodala hopped onto the scorer’s table at Wells Fargo Center, celebrating the Sixers’ dramatic Game 6 win in the first round over the Bulls, the franchise’s first playoff series victory since 2003. 

Three months later, he was a Denver Nugget.

Game 6, which will re-air Wednesday night on NBC Sports Philadelphia, is memorable on its own, a low-scoring thriller. The Sixers’ season ended with a Game 7 loss in Boston, the conclusion of a series later featured in Uncut Gems. Adam Sandler’s character, a desperate jeweler/gambler named Howard Ratner, encourages Kevin Garnett to “step on Elton Brand’s f---ing neck.” 

There aren’t yet any movies that we know of about the trade that sent Iguodala to the Nuggets and brought Andrew Bynum to Philadelphia, but it’s a deal that invites re-examination. In the four-team, 12-player trade, the Sixers received Bynum and Jason Richardson, and they gave up Iguodala, Moe Harkless, Nikola Vucevic and a protected first-round pick.

The clearest takeaway from the trade is that the impact was, on the surface, borderline disastrous. Bynum never played a game with the Sixers because of injuries, including a bowling-induced setback. Richardson only played in 52 games. Harkless, now in his eighth season, is a solid NBA player. Vucevic was an All-Star last season with the Magic and has averaged 17 points and 10.7 rebounds since leaving the Sixers. Iguodala won three championships with the Warriors and earned a Finals MVP award. 

The trade’s failure also expedited the beginning of “The Process.” With Bynum out, Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen started at center. Kwame Brown even started 11 games in his final NBA season. The team finished 34-48 and missed the playoffs, and Doug Collins resigned as head coach. Sam Hinkie took over in May, trading Jrue Holiday on draft night in exchange for Nerlens Noel and the Pelicans’ 2014 first-round pick. He hired Brett Brown in August. 

If the Sixers had never traded for Bynum, they likely would have been a playoff team in the 2012-13 season, even after Lou Williams — their leading scorer in 2011-12 — signed with the Hawks. Iguodala was coming off an All-Star year, while a rookie Harkless would presumably have had a good shot at taking minutes from players like Dorell Wright and Nick Young. Collins removed Vucevic from his rotation in the playoffs the year prior, but it seems very possible his opinion of the big man would have shifted.

“How many teams can give up Andre Iguodala, Moe Harkless and Nik Vucevic and have nothing in returning playing?,” Collins asked after a February loss to Orlando. “That’s tough to overcome, right? That’s just the facts. … Nik Vucevic had 19 rebounds tonight. Spencer had one. I think Lavoy had two.”

Allen had four rebounds that night, but that’s obviously besides the point. 

Collins would have been coaching a team with hopes of making a run. Though the Sixers had been fortunate in that first-round series against Chicago the year before, with the Bulls suffering injuries to Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, their aspirations wouldn’t have been entirely delusional. Any notion of winning the Eastern Conference or pushing for an NBA title would have been absurd — the Sixers weren’t going to win a series against LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the Heat. But, at a bare minimum, they would have been a step or two above mediocre. They could’ve easily convinced themselves it wasn’t necessary to do anything drastic, that they were on the right track.

The team traded for Bynum instead, and Hinkie came in unconcerned with immediate, conventional respectability. He accumulated assets, played the odds and gave himself chances to select players like Joel Embiid. His approach turned off many fans who didn’t enjoy watching fringe NBA players set historic losing streaks. 

Without the Bynum trade, the Sixers probably never would have considered that path, and they likely would have stayed the course on a different, more traditional process built around Igoudala, Holiday and Vucevic. It would've been so much easier to justify hovering a couple of rungs below title contention, remembering that night Iguodala leaped on the table and hoping it wasn't a fluke. 



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