Last week Shaquille O’Neal and Scottie Pippen had one of the best internet beefs that I have seen. It was all because of the argument about which team was better, the all-time Los Angeles Lakers or the all-time Chicago Bulls. As P. A. Cass wrote last week, this game would not really be that close. This discussion got me thinking, who would be the Sixers starting five? Also, how would they stack up against the other franchises? Here is what I came up with:
Point Guard: Allen Iverson
Allen Iverson was one of the most prolific scorers in NBA history during his run with the 76ers. During his career he racked up 11 all-star games, 4 scoring titles , and an MVP award in 2001. He also led the league in steals from 2001-2003. You could argue that Iverson was more of a shooting guard, which I would tend to agree with, but I do not know who else to put at point guard. Maurice Cheeks, the floor general for the 1983 championship team, was a contender for this spot. And if Shaq can put himself at the power forward for the Lakers, then I can have Iverson be the point guard.
Shooting Guard: Hal Greer
If you do not know who Hal Greer is, you are probably not alone. Greer is the all-time leading scorer in the history of the Philadelphia 76ers. Greer was an NBA champion in 1967, usually known as “Wilt’s teammate,” thus not getting the credit he deserves. During the 60’s Greer was commonly referred to as the third best guard of the decade behind Oscar Robertson and Jerry West. That is very elite company to be apart of. Greer was a part of ten all-star games, is a member of the hall of fame, and was selected to the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time team.
Small Forward: Julius Erving
If you can revolutionize the way that basketball is played, you are unquestionably a great player. When Erving entered the league, his above-the-rim style of play had both players and fans in awe. In both the NBA and ABA combined, Erving attended 16 all-star games, four MVP awards, and won three championships. The biggest of the titles coming in 1983 when he was part of one of the best teams in NBA history. The team where Moses Malone famously said that they would go “fo’ fo’ fo’,” sweeping every team en route to the championship. Erving has also gone down as one of the fifty best players ever.
Power Forward: Charles Barkley
“The Round Mound of Rebound” is one of the top five power forwards this game has ever seen. Standing at 6 ft 6 in, Barkley once led the league in rebounding during the 1986-1987 season. He was also an 11 time all-star and won an MVP award albeit in his days with the Phoenix Suns. Barkley averaged a double-double throughout his career and was a member of the legendary “Dream Team.”
Center: Wilt Chamberlain
Here is another Sixers player that revolutionized the NBA. During his time in high school, Chamberlain had a unique way of shooting free throws. He would throw the ball up toward the basket, take a couple of steps and dunk the ball. This caused the NCAA and the NBA to implement the rule that you cannot cross the line while shooting a free throw. In the NBA, Chamberlain averaged a staggering 30 points and 22 rebounds over the course of his career. He played in thirteen all-star games, won two NBA championships, four MVP awards, led the league in scoring seven times, and led the league in rebounds eleven times. One season Wilt averaged a whopping 50 points per game and still holds the record for most points in a game, most points in a season, and most career rebounds. Chamberlain was the most dominating force the NBA has ever seen, and some may say he is the greatest player of all-time.
Where the Sixers Stack Up:
The Sixers present a very good history when it comes to great basketball players. One through five are all hall of famers or future hall of famers. Even with this line up though, they are not even close to the best. The Boston Cetics and Los Angeles Lakers are far and away the best two franchises when it comes to the “all-time teams.” The Lakers and Celtics second-tier rosters are even better than most teams. With the Sixers talent, it is hard to say they aren’t the third best. If it is not them, who is third? What teams would complete the top five?