On Eve of Draft, Philadelphia 76ers Hope Their Past Indicates Future

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Is it luck or is it fate that the Philadelphia 76ers landed the first pick in the 2016 NBA draft? If history tells us anything, the pick could be special for Philadelphia, whichever it is.

In 1976, the NBA and the ABA had just merged and the 76ers picked up Julius Erving from the New York Nets for $3 million.  “Dr. J” uplifted and electrified the city with his athletic and dunking abilities and would go on to have a Hall of Fame career in Philadelphia. Erving faced the Lakers in the NBA Finals three times, finally winning the third series in 1983 and bringing an NBA title to Philadelphia.

In 1996, 20 years after the acquisition of Dr. J, the Philadelphia 76ers selected future Hall-of-Famer Allen Iverson with the first overall pick in the NBA Draft. He brought passion to the City of Brotherly Love with his high level of gutsy play that he displayed night in and night out while winning multiple scoring titles. “The Answer” led the 2001 Sixers to an outstanding 56-26 record and an appearance in the NBA Finals against – who else? – the Los Angeles Lakers. The Sixers took game one in that series and the vision of Iverson’s jump-shot and step over of Tyrone Lue will forever remain in the NBA archives. The 76ers would ultimately lose the series and fall 4-1 to the Lakers. They haven’t been back to the NBA Finals since.

But, in 2016, 20 years since the drafting Iverson, the Philadelphia 76ers once again hold the first overall pick in the NBA Draft. They have another chance to select a star that will lead them to the promised land. If the past 40 years of the Sixers is any indication, they are due to select a future Hall-of-Famer.