What if the Philadelphia 76ers drafted Michael Jordan in 1984?

Would Michael Jordan have been the GOAT as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers?

We all know how the story of Michael Jordan‘s career and how it panned out. Every single fan in the NBA would have wished their teams consisted of Jordan during the late 80s and 90s. Jordan made sure his presence on the court was felt night in and night out.

This is what made him so unique. He gave it his all in each and every game he played. However, how would Jordan’s career have looked if he fell to No. 5 in 1984 NBA Draft, and therefore ended up with the Philadelphia 76ers? He would have joined the likes of Maurice Cheeks, Julius Erving and Bobby Jones. Would he have won more rings? Would his legacy be tarnished as a result, or would it look even better? Would he have made the same impact on the Sixers as he did with the Bulls?

The following is a full career simulation of Michael Jordan’s career, had he joined the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1984 draft. The simulation was done via https://play.basketball-gm.com/


Rookie Season (1985): (48-34)

82 g, 38.3 min, 52.8% FG, 7.7 Rb, 6.1 Ast, 2.0 Stl, 1.9 Blk, 31.5 Pts

ROY, Scoring Leader, 1st Team, 1st All Defensive, All Rookie Team, All-Star

Lost in conference finals in 7 to Boston

40.2 min, 30.2 pts, 6.8 rbs, 5.7ast, 2.3 stl, 2.6 blk

Sophomore Season (1986): (34-48)

77 g, 38.2 min, 49.9% FG, 8.9 Rb, 4.2 Ast, 1.9 Stl, 1.9 Blk, 29.9 Pts

Scoring Leader, 1st Team, 3rd All Defensive, All-Star

Missed playoffs

3rd Season (1987): (50-32)

82 g, 41.0 min, 56.5% FG, 7.7 Rb, 3.3 Ast, 2.3 Stl, 2.0 Blk, 38.9 Pts

MVP, Scoring Leader, 1st Team, 1st All Defensive, All-Star, All-Star MVP

Lost 2nd round in 5 to Boston

43.2 min, 39.1 pts, 7.9 rbs, 3.8 ast, 3 stl, 4.4 blk

4th Season (1988): (53-29)

73 g, 40.9 min, 55.1 FG %, 6.6 Rb, 4.3 Ast, 2.7 Stl, 2.2 Blk, 40.5 Pts

MVP, Scoring Leader, Steals Leader, 1st Team, 1st All Defensive, All-Star, All-Star MVP

Lost 1st round in 4 to Milwaukee

46.4 min, 42.8 pts, 6.3 rbs, 4.5 ast, 3.5 stl, 4.5 blk

5th Season (1989): (39-43)

81 g, 39.9 min, 50.1 FG%, 7.4 Rb, 5.9 Ast, 2.4 Stl, 1 Blk, 33.8 Pts

Scoring Leader, Steals Leader, 1st Team, 1st All Defensive, All-Star

Lost 2nd round in 5 to Detroit

42 min, 38.6 pts, 7.6 rbs, 7 ast, 2.1 stl, 1.8 blk

6th Season (1990): (56-26)

75 g, 41 min, 49.9 FG%, 5.4 rbs, 8.8 ast, 2.4 stl, 0.6 blk, 36.6 pts

Championship, Finals MVP, Scoring Leader, Steals Leader, 1st Team, 1st All Defensive, All-Star, All-Star MVP

Won Championship against Phoenix

43.5 min, 39.1 pts, 5.6 rbs, 8.6 ast, 2.6 stl, 0.8 blk

7th Season (1991): (43-33

63 g, 39.9 min, 54.2 FG%, 5.2 rbs, 6.1 ast, 2.7 stl, 1.1 blk, 34.7 pts

Scoring Leader, 1st Team, 1st All Defensive, All-Star

Lost 2nd round in 6 to Chicago

43.1 min, 33.3 pts, 6.9 rbs, 6.1 ast, 1.8 stl, 1.9 blk

8th Season (1992): (63-19)

81 g, 37.4 min, 54.2 FG%, 4.5 rbs, 7.7 ast, 2.2 stl, 0.7 blk, 27.8 pts

MVP, Championship, Finals MVP, Scoring Leader, 1st Team, 1st All Defensive, All-Star

Won Championship against Golden State

41.9 min, 28.9 pts, 5.3 rbs, 7.9 ast, 2.6 stl, 1.3 blk

9th Season (1993): (54-28)

70 g, 39.0 min, 52.2 FG%, 4.2 rbs, 7.4 ast, 2.5 stl, 0.6 blk, 34.3 pts

Scoring Leader, Steals Leader, 1st Team, 2nd All Defensive, All Star

Lost Conference Finals in 4 to Detroit

42.0 min, 32.9 pts, 5.6 rbs, 7.3 ast, 2.0 stl, 0.3 blk

10th Season (1994): (48-34)

82 g, 41.7 min, 49.4 FG%, 4.6 rbs, 9.0 ast, 2.4 stl, 0.6 blk, 33.1 pts

Scoring Leader, Steals Leader, 1st Team, 3rd All Defensive, All-Star, All-Star MVP

Lost 2nd Round in 7 to Cleveland

44.4 min, 33.1 pts, 4.6 rbs, 9.1 ast, 2.6 stl, 1.1 blk

11th Season (1995): (27-55)

20 g, 40.6 min, 48.7 FG%, 7.8 rbs, 8.8 ast, 2.6 stl, 0.4 blk, 31.0 pts (TORN ACL)

All-Star

Missed Playoffs

12th Season (1996): (54-28)

82 g, 37.6 min, 50.8 FG%, 5.4 rbs, 5.4 ast, 2.3 stl, 0.2 blk, 29.2 pts

MVP, Scoring Leader, 1st Team, 2nd All Defensive, All-Star, All-Star MVP

Lost Conference Finals in 6 to Boston

42.1 min, 30.1 pts, 6.6 rbs, 6.5 ast, 1.7 stl, 0.6 blk

13th Season (1997): (51-31)

66 g, 36.6 min, 48.7 FG%, 5.2 rbs, 5.9 ast, 2.0 stl, 0.4 blk, 26.4 pts

MVP, Scoring Leader, 1st Team, All-Star, All-Star MVP

Lost 2nd Round in 4 to Cleveland

42.0 min, 25.3 pts, 5.1 rbs, 6.0 ast, 1.9 stl, 0.4 blk

14th Season (1998): (46-36)

82 g, 35.0 min, 46.3 FG%, 4.4 rbs, 2.9 ast, 1.6 stl, 0.3 blk, 22.8 pts

Scoring Leader, 2nd Team, All-Star

Lost 1st Round in 3 to Detroit

38.4 min, 19.7 pts, 3.7 rbs, 2.7 ast, 2.7 stl, 0.0 blk

15th Season (1999): (28-54)

82 g, 35.3 min, 46.1 FG%, 6.5 rbs, 3.1 ast, 1.4 stl, 0.2 blk, 22.0 pts

All-Star

Missed Playoffs

16th Season (2000): (45-37)

74 g, 32.7 min, 47.1 FG%, 5.0 rbs, 3.6 ast, 1.5 stl, 0.1 blk, 21.4 pts

3rd Team, All-Star

Lost 1st Round in 3 to New Jersey

36.9 min, 23.3 pts, 5.7 rbs, 3.7 ast, 1.3 stl, 0.3 blk

17th Season (2001): (48-34)

82 g, 30.3 min, 46.4 FG%, 4.4 rbs, 2.8 ast, 0.9 stl, 0.2 blk, 17.0 pts

Lost 1st Round in 3 to Detroit

35.7 min, 22.3 pts, 3.7 rbs, 2.7 ast, 1.3 stl, 0.3 blk

18th Season (2002): (38-44)

74 g, 27.1 min, 48.2 FG%, 3.9 rbs, 3.9 ast, 0.9 stl, 0.1 blk, 14.2 pts

Missed Playoffs

19th Season (2003): (53-29)

67 g, 26.0 min, 48.6 FG%, 3.2 rbs, 2.3 ast, 1.2 stl, 0.1 blk, 12.5 pts

Lost 1st Round in 7 to Orlando

21.6 min, 11.7 pts, 2.3 rbs, 2.7 ast, 1.7 stl, 0.0 blk


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AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Retired and inducted in the HOF

  • 5 x MVP (1987,1988,1992,1996,1997)
  • 2 x Rings (1990,1992)
  • 2 x Finals MVP (1990,1992)
  • Rookie of The Year (1985)
  • 14 x Scoring Leader (1985-1994, 1996-1999)
  • 5 x Steals Leader (1988-1990, 1993, 1994)
  • 12 x First Team All-NBA (1985-1994,1996,1997)
  • 1 x Second Team All-NBA (1998)
  • 1 x Third Team All-NBA (2000)
  • 7 x First Team All-Defensive (1985, 1987-1992)
  • 2 x Second Team All-Defensive (1993, 1996)
  • 2 x Third Team All-Defensive (1986, 1994)
  • 1 x All-Rookie Team (1985)
  • 16 x All-Star (1985-2000)
  • 6 x All-Star MVP (1987, 1988, 1990, 1994, 1996, 1997)

Notable Teammates Played With

  • Maurice Cheeks, Julius Erving and Bobby Jones
  • Dennis Rodman (drafted 1986)
  • Horace Grant (free agent signing 1990)
  • Kevin Garnett (drafted 1995)

Playoffs History

  • 4 x Missed Playoffs (1986,1995,1999,2002)
  • 5 x Knocked out 1st Round (1988,1998,2000,2001,2003)
  • 5 x Knocked out 2nd Round (1987,1989,1991,1994,1997)
  • 3 x Lost Conference Finals (1985,1993,1996)
  • 2 x Champion (1990,1992)

Summary & Final Thoughts

By observation, it is clearly obvious that MJ’s legacy would not be as strong as it is right now if he had joined the Sixers. However, there are numerous factors which could have influenced this:

1. The simulation does not consider Michael Jordan’s killer mentality, one of the attributes that makes him so elite in real life.

2. For most of his career, he did not have a reliable No. 2 to depend on (like he had Scottie Pippen in Chicago).

3. A super team was formed in Los Angeles which consisted of Magic Johnson, Reggie Miller, Clyde Drexler and Scottie Pippen, which dominated the league for multiple seasons.

Michael Jordan has always been known for being one of the greatest scorers the basketball community has ever seen. This simulation proved to be no exception. Jordan scored 39,385 points, averaging 27 points in over 1,440 games (he didn’t retire multiple times during his career).

Another aspect of Michael Jordans’ game which was admired by many was his ability to hit clutch game-winning shots. Likewise, there was no exception to this as well in his tenure with the Sixers, as he hit 35 game winning or overtime-forcing shots, the majority of which came from beyond the arc.

Next: Derek Bodner joins TSS Podcast

However, when comparing the stats of Michael Jordans career with that of this simulation, it points to one major ‘what if?’. What if Michael Jordan never retired, and played his entire career with no ‘breaks’? What he could have further accomplished is truly astonishing, regardless of who he played for