The Philadelphia 76ers were almost able to make the best duo not only in franchise history but arguably NBA history in the 1984 NBA Draft.
I recently wrote about how the Philadelphia 76ers proposed a trade to land the pick that became Michael Jordan before the 1984 NBA Draft and speculated what that offer might have been. I’m somewhat disappointed to say that I was off on what I thought the Sixers had offered, but I’m ecstatic to learn what the actual offer was.
According to Noah Levick of NBCSPhilly, former 76ers owner Harold Katz had confirmed that Philly was going to trade Julius Erving (Dr. J) for the third pick that became Jordan. Levick made it clear that the quote for Katz came from the book titled “Pat Williams’ Tales From the Philadelphia 76ers”.
That being said, Levick went and gave his own analysis of what type of ripple effect that Jordan coming to Philly would have had. However, he failed to get into detail about how Jordan and Charles Barkley would have fit on the court or how they would have ranked as a duo.
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Barkley failed to win a title with Philly, or anywhere for that matter, but he’s still one of the best power forwards in NBA history and is easily the best-undersized power forward to ever play the game. With the Sixers, he averaged 23.3 points, 11.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.7 steals. Barkley made six of his 11 All-Star appearances as a member of the 76ers. He also won MVP while on the Phoenix Suns.
Jordan won six championships and is easily the best player in NBA History. He has 14 All-Star appearances and five MVPs. His career averages are 30.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 2.3 steals.
Imagine a pick-and-roll with Jordan and Barkley! It would have been unstoppable! They would have been lethal in transition with Barkley’s passing skills. Defensively they would have been tough as well.
If the two were paired, they easily would have been the best duo in Sixers franchise history. They would have been better than Wilt Chamberlain and Hal Greer or Dr. J and Moses Malone. Unless Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid step up and win multiple championships, then the Jordan/Barkley duo would be better than them too.
I agree with Levick that Jordan would have given Philly a better chance of winning in the 1984-85 postseason against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals and there’s a real chance they could have won the title if they beat the Celtics. It’s hard to imagine just how many titles the two superstars could have won together and it would be ludicrous to think that they wouldn’t be in at least the conversation for the best duo in NBA history.
If the Philadelphia 76ers could have pulled off the trade that would have landed Jordan and Barkley then it’s fair to say the franchise’s history would have looked much different than it does now.