Greatest Draft Steals in Philadelphia 76ers History
Today, the Philadelphia 76ers are filled with players that were top prospects in their respective draft classes. Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Al Horford were all top three picks and while the team has players like Josh Richardson who were bona fide draft steals, the Sixers’ core is mainly comprised of highly rated players.
With that being said, that doesn’t mean the Sixers haven’t been able to find their fair share of diamonds in the rough. Throughout their long history, the franchise has been able to get players outside the top 10 or so that have gone on to make major impacts and even become stars.
4. Lou Williams
One of the last players to go directly from high school to the NBA, Williams was selected by Philadelphia in the middle of the second round (No. 45) back in 2005.
It took a few seasons for Williams to earn significant playing time in Philly, but the 6-foot-1 guard gave the Sixers five-straight years of double-digit scoring. Although he has definitely peaked later in his career, his early days with the 76ers still deserve recognition.
3. Caldwell Jones
Despite being drafted by the 76ers (32nd overall) in the 1973 draft, Jones wouldn’t join the team until the 1976-77 season as a 26-year-old rookie.
When he got to Philly, the 6-foot-11 center would become an important piece for the team for the next six years, averaging 7.2 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game.
2. Maurice “Mo” Cheeks
One of the best defensive players of his era, Cheeks fell into Philadelphia’s lap with the 36th overall pick in the 1976 draft.
Cheeks was never a great scorer but as said before, he was a lockdown defender and a fantastic facilitator.
The former second-round pick made five All-NA Defensive Teams and four All-Star appearances throughout his 15-year career (11 with the Sixers) and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018.
1. Hal Greer
Hal “High Gear” Greer was the 13th overall pick in 1958 by the Syracuse Nationals (would later become the Philadelphia 76ers). Back then, however, 13th overall was a late second-round pick and Greer’s impact far exceeds that.
A 10-time All-Star and seven-time All-NBA selection, Greer was one of the league’s biggest stars throughout the 60s. The 6-foot-2 point guard played all 15 of his seasons with the franchise.
Greer put up at least 19 points per game in 10 straight seasons and averaged 5.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists during that same span.
Obviously due to the time period, Greer wasn’t drafted as late as the others on this list, but his accomplishments as well as playing his entire career with the Nationals/76ers puts him ahead of the pack.