4. 2000-01 season (56-26, lost in NBA Finals)
Few seasons carry more weight when viewing the Sixers through a holistic, historic lens. 2000-01 was iconic, as much for the Sixers’ success as it was for the culture around the team. It was Allen Iverson’s thunderous overture — a display of just how special his talent was.
While it wasn’t Iverson’s first good season, it was unequivocally his best. He averaged 31.1 points and 4.6 assists per game. His 2.5 steals led the NBA. He won the All-Star Game MVP, and then the league MVP. All that, and the undermanned Sixers finished first in the Eastern Conference.
There were valuable role players on the roster — Dikembe Mutombo, Aaron McKie, Eric Snow — but Iverson was the lone star. He carried a massive load, operating as the primary threat on offense and playing strong point of attack defense.
Iverson, both as a bucket-getter and a passer, was able to push the Sixers’ offense to impressive heights. He had the innate ability to break down defenders, using crossovers and hesitations to loose his man before wreaking havoc as a pull-up threat.
On the whole, it was a magical season — one that will live on in Sixers lore. Philadelphia won its first 10 games, quickly separating itself from the Eastern Conference pack. A mid-season deal for Mutombo cemented their status as contenders.
In the postseason, the Sixers fought through two grueling seven-game series. The Sixers knocked off Toronto in the conference semis and Milwaukee in the conference finals, all building up to a Finals matchup with the Lakers.
While L.A. won swiftly in five games, it’s important to point out a key detail. The Sixers’ lone win — a thrilling OT victory in Game 1 — was the Lakers’ only loss that postseason. Despite being massively outgunned by a deeper L.A. squad, Iverson managed to get the Sixers a win on the biggest stage.