The Philadelphia 76ers have one of the better power forwards in the league right now in Al Horford. He may not be the flashiest of players, but he gets the job done. As a matter of fact, more than a few folks believe that he might just be the missing piece this team has been searching for in order to get to the next level.
Horford is not the only big name that has filled the role of the four for the Sixers. He has quite a long list of predecessors, actually. This dates all the way back to the days of the great Dolph Schayes, who was the team’s superstar (then the Syracuse Nationals) in the 1950’s. For the record, Schayes would have been No. 4 on our list of greatest power forwards, but the three stars we have below were able to edge him out for one reason or another. Continue reading below to see why.
3. Elton Brand
When Elton Brand arrived in Philly in 2008, it turned out to be the tail end of his career. After a highly-successful spell with the Los Angeles Clippers, which resulted in two All-Star appearances (2002 and 2006), the 6-foot-8 big man signed with the 76ers as a free agent.
While the Brand the 76ers signed was no longer the nightly 20-10 threat that he used to be, it can be said that the former first overall pick still had a productive four seasons with the team. Between 2008 and 2012, Brand averaged 12.7 points (on 48.8 percent shooting), 7.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.0 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game.
Brand’s time with the Sixers came shortly after the Allen Iverson era, but despite losing their cornerstone superstar, Philadelphia would still make it to the playoffs in three out of the four seasons Brand was with the team. In 2012, Brand’s time in Philly was up. He was waived by the Sixers, and signed with the Dallas Maverick shorty after.
It is also worth noting that Brand’s stint with the team as a player played a pivotal role in the Sixers front office’s decision to hire him as the franchise’s general manager in 2019. Since then, Brand has been doing a tremendous job at the helm, as he hopes to see out the completion of “The Process.”
2. Charles Barkley
Charles Barkley is without a doubt one of the best power forwards in league history, and he makes it to No. 2 on our list here.
The 6-foot-6 power forward was selected fifth overall by the Sixers in 1984 following a successful college career with Auburn. By his third season, Barkley would establish himself as one of the top PF’s in the league, as he ended up leading the NBA in rebounds that year. This also earned him his first out of 11 straight All-Star appearances.
With Barkley at the helm, the Sixers would make six playoff appearances in eight years. After this span, however, Philly opted to trade away Barkley in 1992 to the Phoenix Suns for a haul of players. This could have been one of the biggest regrets in franchise history, as not only would Barkley win the MVP award in his very first season with the Suns, but as we all know, he would go on to have a Hall of Fame career ahead of him.
Barkley’s career average for the 76ers are as follows: 23.3 points (on 57.6 percent shooting), 11.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.0 blocks per contest. He amassed a total of 7,079 boards during his spell with the Sixers, which currently ranks third all-time.
1. Moses Malone
Barkley may have been great, but few could argue that as a Sixer, the legendary Moses Malone was even better. Our argument here is simple: Malone was the main man for Philly when they won only their third title in franchise history during the 1982-83 season. This was the first time they had captured the title in nearly 20 years, and also happens to be the last time this franchise has ever tasted a championship. There might be more to come in the future, but until then, Malone’s legacy as the last Sixers champ will live on.
Malone spent only four seasons with the Sixers, but his contributions were enough to land him at the very top of our list. The 6-foot-10 power forward/center arrived in Philadelphia as the reigning MVP (his second) following an amazing season with the Houston Rockets. Malone went on to defend his crown, winning back-to-back MVP titles in 1983 — his first season with the Sixers.
In just four years with the team, Malone put up career averages of 23.9 points (on 47.8 percent shooting), 13.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.0 steals, and 1.5 blocks per game. The Petersburg, Virginia native was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2001.