In the history of the franchise, Philadelphia has witnessed players with astounding defensive abilities. In the post ABA era, the Sixers have had clamp-down defenders, ball hawks, and ridiculous rim protectors. These players would get in an opponent’s jersey, make their life hell, and cause that same player to have nightmares later that night.
We will look at the top five players who had the biggest defensive impact in franchise history. (Players selected played a minimum of three years for the Sixers)
Top 5 defenders in Sixers history: Honorable mentions
- Allen Iverson
Some would think that a player who was an NBA steals champion three times would make the top five of this list. When it comes to Allen Iverson, he was a true ball hawk in the passing lanes. It is the reason why he recorded so many steals. Yet, he was not the best on-ball defender, probably because he was expected to shoot over 20 shots per game. He was a matchup liability on most night’s simply because of his size.
Although Allen Iverson was revered as a gritty competitor and prolific scorer, he just missed the cut on this list. He is still a Hall of Famer, cultural icon, and one of the greatest ball thieves the league has witnessed.
- Andre Iguodala
When Andre Iguodala was drafted out of Arizona, he came to the Sixers with supreme athleticism. This helped him become one of the league’s toughest defenders. He was a player who could also pass, rebound, and score. He was known for defending the opposing team’s most talented wing player. This is a tall order when you consider he had to match up against Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwayne Wade.
He made two All-Defensive Teams in his career, and he averaged 1.7 steals in his eight years as a Sixer. His most notable years came when he played for the Golden State Warriors and earned Finals MVP. Unfortunately, his tenure in Philly will always have a cloud over it because he was unable to contribute to a championship, and he was unable to elevate his game to being a primary scorer.
Now, let’s get to the list of the top five defensive players in Sixers history.