March 27, 2020
Brought to Philadelphia after dominating the ABA with two different teams, Julius "Dr. J" Erving instantly gave the Sixers a chance to compete for championships once he arrived. Whether that will be enough to earn him the win in our one-on-one tournament, however, is another story entirely.
This could just be my age showing, but Erving's production and legacy feels like it has faded a bit the more time has passed. The Sixers had some high-profile failures on big stages before Moses Malone arrived to give the Sixers the extra punch they needed, but Erving was the picture of consistency in the late '70s and early '80s and came up with some huge efforts in games Philadelphia lost anyway. Their infamous loss to the Portland Trailblazers in the 1977 Finals closed with Erving putting up 37-9-7 and 40-6-8 in back-to-back losses. Tough way to go out.
Thankfully, he only has to worry about his own production in this format. As a reminder, here's what the full bracket looks like.
(If you want a direct link to the photo with a better/closer view, you can check out the bracket here.)
These aren't the "best" 64 players, necessarily, but 64 players from an assortment of eras and categories that I initially was going to divide by playstyles (playmakers, scorers, finishers, and potpourri), before realizing you could put four or five of the greatest players in franchise history into the "scorer" category. I tried to account for some combination of impact, longevity, peak value, etc., with the first goal to split up the players I would consider to be the Sixers' version of Mt. Rushmore — Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving, Allen Iverson, and Charles Barkley.
Critically, the players were not strictly seeded based on how good they would be in a one-on-one setting. That's the part that I think will make this interesting, because certain lower seeds might have a chance to go on upset runs as a result because they're either too big or too fast for their opponent to deal with. It is like the NCAA Tournament in that styles may tilt the fights.
Other than that, use your best judgment. Good basketball players beat bad basketball players.
Today, we focus on the Julius Erving region, so cast your ballots below. Looking at it now, this is by far the most dangerous region in the tournament. Erving is an elite No. 1 seed, and the 2-7 group (JJ Redick excluded) is the best and deepest by far, with Andrew Toney, Chet Walker, Jrue Holiday, Lou Williams, and Tobias Harris all representing dangerous matchups the deeper this thing goes.
If you haven't voted in the Wilt Chamberlain, Charles Barkley, or Allen Iverson regions just yet, you can do so here for Wilt, here for Chuck, and here for Iverson. We're leaving polls open and beginning the announcement of first wave of results on Monday, so there's still time to weigh in.
Having trouble viewing the polls? Try clicking here.
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