The Philadelphia 76ers have had some of the most iconic players in the last decade. You could describe their last 10 seasons as a rollercoaster ride. From 2013-2016 the team did not break 20 wins. However, once “the process” really began following the 2016 season, the 76ers became relevant after going from 28 wins in 2016-17 to 58 wins in 2017-18. The Sixers were able to turn it around by taking advantage of their draft picks, which then developed into some of their top talent of the decade. Let’s take a look at these players in no particular order:
5. Jrue Holiday
The 76ers drafted the young point guard in the 2009 draft with the 17th overall pick. Holiday came out of UCLA and created an instant impact on the organization. His career in Philadelphia averaged 13 points as the floor general and 6 assists. Holiday made the All-Star team in 2013 as an East reserve. In 2011-12, Holiday and the 76ers went on to have a 35-31 season record. They defeated the Bulls in the first round of the playoffs but then fell short to the Boston Celtics in a series that went to game seven. Holiday was then traded to the Pelicans in 2013 for center Nerlens Noel. Rumors have stirred up recently about Holiday and a possible return to Philly.
4. Andre Iguodala
The Philadelphia 76ers drafted Andrew Iguodala with the ninth pick in the 2004 draft out of Arizona. Iguodala played in Philadelphia from 2004-2012. Iguodala was looked at as an enthusiastic player who would always give all of his effort. He was the type of player that had stats that could not be written on paper. Iguodala had a career-high in average points with 20 per game in the 2007-08 season. In 2012, Iguodala made his first all-star appearance and was named to the NBA All-Defensive team twice during his career. The fanbase in Philadelphia adores Andre Iguodala and his workhorse of a heart.
3. Ben Simmons
Ben Simmons is going to go down as one of the greatest Sixers to ever put on a uniform. Drafted in just 2016, this triple-double machine has already made a big positive impact on the organization and the city. In each of his three seasons, he has averaged about 16 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. The uniqueness in Simmons’ height as a point guard makes him effective in a way that defenders cannot counter. Coming out of LSU, the Sixers drafted him with the first pick in the 2016 draft. Despite all of the positivity, Simmons has had a tough career with injuries so far. Simmons sat out his first season due to an injured right foot but then was named Rookie of the Year in 2018. He then went on to make all-star appearances in 2019 and 2020. At just 23 years old, Simmons has a ridiculous amount of potential and even draws comparisons to LeBron James.
2. Jimmy Butler
In 2018, the 76ers were shopping for a superstar. Their eyes were laid on Timberwolves all-star, Jimmy Butler. The Sixers traded Dario Saric, Robert Covington, Jerryd Bayless and a 2022 draft pick for Jimmy Butler. Butler played in Philadelphia for half a season. Butler led the team to the third spot in the Eastern Conference. They later went on and lost in a shocking fashion to the Raptors and Kawhi Leonard’s shot. There were disputes between Butler and the coaching staff about authority in the organization. Butler was then traded to the Miami Heat for Josh Richardson.
1. Joel Embiid
Last but certainly not least, Joel Embiid. Probably the most talented big man in the NBA and definitely the best player in the Sixers organization from the last 10 years. In 2014, the Sixers drafted Embiid with the third overall pick out of Kansas. Embiid did not play his first two years due to foot injuries. The Cameroonian made his debut on October 26, 2016, with the Philadelphia 76ers. Embiid has averaged 24 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and two blocks during his time so far in Philadelphia. Embiid has been elected as a third consecutive all-star this past season and has led the Sixers to multiple remarkable records. Embiid was the original founder of “The Process.” The Sixers are in great hands with this young superstar with the sky as his limit.