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April 13, 2023

Ranking every Sixers power forward ever

The Sixers have had four NBA Hall of Fame power forwards and then... a bunch of role players basically.

When you really think about it, is power forward a position of strength historically when it comes to this historic franchise? Does Tobias Harris really rank fifth all-time among position players with the team?

With some time until the playoffs, we decided to set out to determine just that. Using 200 games as our minimum threshold for the ranking below, we came up with 14 power forwards who made Philly their home for at least three seasons. 

But first, here's a look at some power forwards whose tenure in Philly wasn't long enough to make our list:

Tyrone Hill1899.7 ppg, 8.4 rpg
Rick Mahorn1719.0 ppg, 7.1 rpg
Cliff Robinson13116.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg
Chris Webber11417.9 ppg, 9.3 rpg
 Keith Van Horn7415.9 ppg, 7.1 rpg
Al Horford6711.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg

Our sports staff ranked the following players at the 4 spot in the lineup. Here's how we think they should be quantified:

1. Charles Barkley (1984-92)

23.3 PPG | 11.6 RPG | 6 All-Star, 7 All NBA | NBA HOF

Evan Macy: Sir Charles was a revelation in Philadelphia and should have won an MVP award here too. He never was able to break through to the NBA Finals either, reaching them (and winning his MVP) only when his time in Philly came to an ugly end as he was traded to the Suns. This was a unanimous vote — and any all-time team for the Sixers would include Barkley.

2. Dolph Schayes (1949-64)

18.5 | 12.1 RPG | 12 All-Star, 1955 NBA title | NBA HOF

Nick Tricome: A career National/Sixer, Schayes was near impossible to get off the floor, even when he was clearly injured. Broken wrist? Didn't matter. He'd shoot with the other hand. Broken cheekbone? Well, there went his ironman streak of 705 consecutive games, but then there he was in two weeks' time playing again with a protective face mask. 

He played until he couldn't anymore, winning the 1955 title and earning 12 All-Star nods along the way, then slipped right into coaching the team. 

A basketball court was just always where he wanted to be. 

3. Bobby Jones (1978-86)

10.7 PPG | 4.8 RPG | 2 All-Star, 1983 Sixth Man, 7 All Defense, 1983 NBA title | NBA HOF

Shamus Clancy: Bobby Jones is the rare guy who played decades in the past who would better in the modern NBA. An athletic four, Jones would've slid in perfectly as a small-ball five like Draymond Green and could match Green's impact on championship contenders. Those 1983 Sixers had a Hall of Famer and legit defensive force coming off the bench. Wild! Jones posterizing Larry Bird in the 1981 playoffs is an all-time great Sixers highlight, too.

4. George McGinnis (1975-78)

21.6 PPG | 11.5 RPG | 2 All Star, 2 All-NBA | NBA HOF

Evan: There is about to be a huge drop off in our rankings. The Sixers got four Hall of Fame power forwards, and then we drop off to Tobias Harris. Seems kind of like a big jump. McGinnis wasn't in Philly long but he made a huge impact on the competitive pre-Julius Erving teams. He was a gifted scorer and was inducted into the hall belatedly in 2017.

5. Tobias Harris (2018-present)

17.7 PPG | 6.6 RPG 

Shamus: Tobias Harris is a pretty good scorer who will be defined by his massive contract that did not match his talent level and production. He was a great third cog during the 2021 Sixers season where he was a fringe All-Star averaging 20 and seven on great efficiency on the top team in the East, but he's no longer at that level. Another second round exit for the Sixers this spring will come to exemplify Harris' tenure: wasted promise. 

6. Derrick Coleman (1996-98, 2001-04)

13.3 PPG | 8.4 RPG

Shamus: I can't quite call a guy who averaged 17 and nine in a 15-year NBA career a bust, but Derrick Coleman is someone who did not come close to sniffing the otherworldly potential he showcased during his days at Syracuse that led to him being a No. 1 pick. During his second stint in Philly, where he was a part of a long line of past-their-prime stars who were hitched to Allen Iverson's wagon only to disappoint the fan base. 

T-7. Elton Brand (2008-12, 2015-16)

12.7 PPG | 7.2 PPG

Shamus: A big-money, much-hyped free agent signing whose career was derailed by injuries, Brand ultimately ended up as a solid role player on the 2011 and 2012 Sixers playoff squads, but did not resemble his previous All-Star form at all. Brand will definitely be more remembered for his time as the Sixers' GM, for better and more likely worse, making the Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris, Josh Richardson and Al Horford moves. 

T-7. Thaddeus Young (2007-14)

13.7 PPG | 5.5 RPG | All-Rookie

Nick: Thad Young was a good but not great player from a mediocre then outright terrible era of Sixers basketball, but that isn't anywhere near his fault. He was a huge part of that 2011-12 run that pulled off an upset over the Bulls and then pushed the aging Kevin Garnett-era Celtics to the brink. The problem was it was him, Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, and an Andre Iguodala on his way out that made up the "core" of that team, and that was never going to last. 

The success faded quickly, Doug Collins was fired, Andrew Bynum just never showed up, and The Process began. Still a good player, but nothing really for him to do in Philadelphia by that point. 

9. Clarence Weatherspoon (1992-98)

13.5 PPG | 8.3 RPG | All-Rookie

Nick: An average of 15 points and 8.3 rebounds over just shy of six seasons in Philadelphia, Weatherspoon wasn't bad at all for the Sixers but did always seem to be dealt a bad hand. A week before he was taken ninth overall in the '92 draft, the Sixers dealt Charles Barkley to the Suns, leaving the incoming rookie to have to fill the void left by a franchise superstar. Then, after Allen Iverson arrived in '96, Weatherspoon started seeing his role diminish until it almost disappeared entirely once Larry Brown took over and fumbled in his efforts to trade him

10. Armen Gilliam (1990-93)

14.7 PPG | 7.1 RPG 

Nick: "The Hammer's" stay in Philadelphia wasn't long, but it was endearing, bringing toughness to the court and a fun personality to the locker room that helped push the last of the Barkley-led playoff teams from the early 90s. 

The rest...

11Luke Jackson9.8 PPG, 8.8 RPG
12Joe Bryant6.4 PPG, 3.3 RPG
13Tim Perry7.3 PPG, 4.3 RPG
14Bob Hopkins8.2 PPG, 5.6 RPG

Shamus: Tim Perry was one of the players the Sixers received in return for Barkley in 1992. Hot take: that deal didn't work out well for Philly. 

Nick: I guess Joe Bryant stands out here because he's Kobe's dad. 

Follow Evan on Twitter:@evan_macy

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