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) /
14 of 16
(Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Drafted by the Sixers in 1965, Billy Cunningham started his career as a sixth man on one of the most dynamic teams in NBA history. He was part of their 1967 championship run in just his second season, coming off the bench behind Wilt Chamberlain and Luke Jackson in the frontcourt.

Cunningham didn’t average over 30 minutes per game until his fourth season, but his production spiked as soon as he did. That marked the start of five straight All-Star appearances, four of which came with the Sixers.

Cunningham played 11 years professionally, with nine of them coming in Philly. He made a brief stop in the ABA — with the Charlotte Cougars — from 1972 to 1974, but he emerged as one of the most impressive offensive forces in Sixers history during his time with the team.

Once the aforementioned Jackson went down with injury, Cunningham was tasked with becoming a go-to option at power forward. He delivered in a big way, averaging 24.8 points and 12.8 rebounds in his first season as a starter.

For his career, Cunningham averaged a solid double-double, tallying 21.2 points and 10.4 rebounds per contest.

After his playing career, Cunningham went on to coach the Sixers from 1977 to 1985. He coached them to their most recent championship in 1983 while also becoming the fastest coach to reach the 400-win mark during his tenure.

He currently holds the record for the third-highest regular season win percentage in a single season, with only Phil Jackson (Bulls) and Steve Kerr (Warriors) ahead of him.