Philadelphia 76ers: 15 greatest draft picks in franchise history

(Photo by Melanie Fidler/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Melanie Fidler/NBAE via Getty Images) /
11 of 16
(Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Speaking of the Process, it didn’t take long for Joel Embiid — the third overall pick in 2014 — to establish himself on this list. He was an all-time effective rookie in his own right, averaging 20.2 points and 2.5 blocks in just 25.4 minutes per game in 2016-17. If it weren’t for a knee injury, he would have won Rookie of the Year with flying colors.

In just his second season, Embiid started the All-Star game while leading the Sixers to their first playoff berth since 2012. He’s arguably the best center in the NBA, combining a hulking frame with elite defensive instincts and a diverse offensive skill set.

The Sixers were one of the best defensive teams in the league this season, largely due to Embiid’s presence underneath. His post skills give the Sixers an option when the offense slows down, but he’s also capable of running the floor and shooting threes when needed.

In many ways, the Sixers lucked out when drafting Embiid. He was largely regarded as the best prospect in the 2014 class, but looming injury concerns dropped him to third. The Sixers also had the guts (and patience) needed to draft him, though, waiting two full seasons before his first NBA minutes.

When it comes to all-time lists, people tend to devalue current players because of the nostalgia of past eras. That’s why so many people are unwilling to consider LeBron James as the best player of all-time, even if his statistical output goes well beyond that of Michael Jordan.

That won’t happen here. Both Embiid and Simmons, based on their early performance and importance to the franchise, have earned spots on this list.