Ranking Andrew Bynum with the 10 Biggest Philadelphia 76ers' Acquisitions Ever

Alec NathanFeatured ColumnistAugust 20, 2012

Ranking Andrew Bynum with the 10 Biggest Philadelphia 76ers' Acquisitions Ever

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    Note: This list only includes players who were signed as free agents or traded for by the Sixers. Therefore, the list does not include draft picks like Charles Barkley or Allen Iverson.

     

    We won't truly know where Andrew Bynum ranks in Sixers lore until he steps on the floor this fall, but nonetheless, it's an exciting time to be a fan of the Philadelphia 76ers.

    Since 2001, the Sixers have tried to take on several different forms, trading for and signing superstars fading out of their glory days, all eventually leading the team to a place in basketball purgatory.

    Now, with Bynum and a solid supporting cast, the Sixers are ready to roll with a young, talented roster that will threaten to be a top-six seed in the Eastern Conference this season.

    As we begin to look to the future, we must first look to the past. Here is where Andrew Bynum ranks among the 76ers' greatest acquisitions.

10. Andre Miller

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    The acquisition of point guard Andre Miller wasn't so much a great trade as it was a sign of changing times. While Miller was more than serviceable during his two-and-a-half seasons as a Sixer, his arrival meant the departure of Allen Iverson.

    Iverson's brief return back to Philadelphia during the 2009-10 season was no more than a marketing gimmick, so it's best to ignore that lousy ploy.

    While Miller has since relocated back to Denver via Portland, he posted fairly good numbers, some even better than current point guard Jrue Holiday.

    In his best season in Philadelphia (2007-08), Miller averaged 17 points, 6.9 assists and four rebounds in more than 36 minutes of action per night. Miller did it all—but without a great supporting cast, he could only lead the Sixers to mediocre results.

    Miller landed with the Sixers at a bad time, but it's his place in the Iverson trade that cements his spot on this list.

9. Aaron McKie/Theo Ratliff

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    As you can already tell, the Philadelphia 76ers haven't made many stellar trades over the course of franchise history.

    While the trade for Theo Ratliff and Aaron McKie hasn't gone down as a move that shook up the franchise, they were two key pieces that helped propel Allen Iverson and the Sixers into the playoff picture in the late 1990s.

    The two were officially acquired in 1997 for Jerry Stackhouse (who struggled when Iverson became the focal point of the offense) and Eric Montross, and showed a concerted effort from the Sixers' brass to put necessary role players around Iverson.

    McKie would go on to win the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year Award in 2000-01, and while Ratliff was eventually dealt for Dikembe Mutombo, he was a stout defensive presence who made his lone All-Star appearance as a member of the Sixers in 2001.

8. Chris Webber

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    When the Philadelphia 76ers acquired Chris Webber from the Sacramento Kings at the NBA trade deadline in February of 2005, fans saw it as the dawning of a new day.

    For too long had Allen Iverson been asked to shoulder the load, and now with Webber in the fold, it looked like he had finally been blessed with a worthy sidekick.

    It appeared as if the Sixers had stolen gold from the Kings, swapping Brian Skinner, Corliss Williamson and Kenny Thomas for Webber, Matt Barnes and Michael Bradley.

    While Webber's numbers during his short tenure in Philadelphia were solid (he averaged 20.2 points and 9.9 rebounds per game in 2005-06), he and Iverson never seemed to co-exist to the degree necessary to become a perennial contender.

    The signing of Webber was lauded at the time, but in retrospect, it was too little, too late for the Sixers.

7. Elton Brand

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    Recently waived via the amnesty clause by the 76ers, Elton Brand's tenure in Philadelphia was marked by hustle, injuries and a massive contract that fans couldn't seem to forget.

    The Sixers made a huge splash in the summer of 2008 when they inked Brand to a five-year deal worth roughly $80 million. While it felt like a necessary move, it was yet another prime example of the Sixers acquiring a superstar whose best days were behind him.

    It's easy to hammer Brand and his numbers over his four years in Philadelphia, but the guy was a class act who brought a desire to win to the floor each and every night.

    On one of the NBA's youngest teams, Brand was a guiding force who stabilized the 76ers through two hard-fought playoff runs.

    Brand's best season came in 2010-11, when he played in 81 of 82 games, averaging 15 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per night.

6. Dikembe Mutombo

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    A necessary acquisition in February of 2001, former Sixers general manager Billy King traded for the only center he knew could match up against Shaquille O'Neal in a potential NBA Finals matchup.

    While the Sixers were still months away from making a long-awaited trip to the finals, Mutombo proved to be as good as advertised, helping deliver the team's first Eastern Conference title since 1983.

    In a deal that sent fan favorite Theo Ratliff to the Atlanta Hawks, Mutombo came in and made an instant impact in the middle for a Sixers team that was otherwise very well-rounded.

    Mutombo would go on to win the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2001, a year in which the Sixers saw Allen Iverson win the league's MVP, Aaron McKie capture the league's Sixth Man of the Year award and Larry Brown take home the league's Coach of the Year hardware.

    In that 2000-01 campaign, Mutombo averaged 11.7 points and 12.4 rebounds per game during the regular season, while posting more than 13 points and 13 rebounds per game in the postseason.

5. Bobby Jones

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    The first of several players on this list associated with the 1982-83 championship team, Bobby Jones was a fantastic forward and nice complement to Moses Malone in the Sixers frontcourt.

    Jones was originally acquired in August of 1978, and along with Julius Erving and Malone, was a key piece to a basketball revitalization in Philadelphia.

    Jones would end up playing the final eight seasons of his career in Philadelphia, where he became one of the most respected players in franchise history.

    While he never logged a tremendous amount of minutes, Jones was a solid contributor and posted his best numbers in the 1981-82 season. By the end of the season, Jones had accumulated totals of 14.4 points and 5.2 rebounds a game, while shooting better than 56 percent from the field.

    Considered one of the heroes of that 1982-83 championship squad, Jones will always be a beloved figure in Philadelphia.

4. Andrew Bynum

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    It remains to be seen what kind of impact Andrew Bynum will have on this budding 76ers team, but for now, things are looking bright.

    Bynum is widely considered to be the best offensive center in the NBA, and while he may not possess the athleticism or defensive prowess that have made Dwight Howard the league's consensus No. 1 big man, he's inching closer toward that designation.

    According to Basketball-Reference.com, Bynum averaged 19.1 points and 12.1 rebounds per 36 minutes last season, and those numbers stand to improve now that he's the focal point of the Sixers offense.

    The second or sometimes third option with the Lakers, Bynum appears ecstatic to now be in a situation where he's the go-to scorer. With a big pay day looming, Bynum has about 100 million reasons to perform at an All-Star level this season.

    Make no mistake about it, Bynum is a legit threat to average 20 points and 10 rebounds a game this season.

3. Moses Malone

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    Arguably the greatest big man to don a Sixers jersey, Moses Malone was acquired from the Houston Rockets in 1982. It should come as no surprise that Malone's first season in a Sixers uniform was the year the Sixers won the franchise's third NBA title.

    In that stellar 1982-83 season, Malone averaged 24.5 points per game while leading the league in rebounds with 15.3 per contest. Malone would go on to win the league's Most Valuable Player award, capping off one of the greatest individual seasons in Sixers history.

    The recent signing of Andrew Bynum has been praised by fans, as it's being called the greatest acquisition since the Sixers traded for Malone. It's hard to disagree with that sentiment.

    While it's unlikely Bynum can ever replicate Malone's production (that seems unfathomable), he instills confidence not only in the team, but in a fanbase that has been pleading for a superstar since the departure of Allen Iverson in 2006.

2. Julius Erving

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    It wouldn't be an understatement to say that the day the Philadelphia 76ers acquired Julius Erving from the New York Nets was the day that changed this franchise's fortunes for the better.

    A star in the ABA, Erving was acquired from the Nets for $3 million in 1976.

    It didn't take very long for Dr. J and the new-look Sixers to instill winning as the norm, not even five years removed from the team's abysmal 9-73 finish.

    Erving led the Sixers on a tremendous run of success, making three NBA Finals appearances between 1976 and 1982. Unfortunately, the Sixers would go on to lose all three series, eventually breaking through in 1983.

    1983 wound up being the year the Sixers paraded down Broad St., sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers 4-0 in the NBA Finals.

    Alongside players like Andrew Toney, Maurice Cheeks, Bobby Jones and Moses Malone, Dr. J helped basketball become relevant in again in the City of Brotherly Love.

1. Wilt Chamberlain

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    Wilt Chamberlain's time with the Philadelphia 76ers was brief, but that doesn't mean it wasn't statistically and historically excellent.

    Acquired in a trade with the Warriors in 1965, Chamberlain returned to the city he called home as a youth, where he emerged at a superstar at Overbrook High School.

    Dueling with the Boston Celtics for NBA supremacy, Chamberlain and Bill Russell went head-to-head several times in the playoffs, in what can only be described as the greatest matchup of opposing big men in NBA history.

    Chamberlain would ultimately lead the Sixers to an NBA title in 1967, in one of the franchise's most unforgettable seasons to date.

    In that storied 1966-67 season, Chamberlain averaged 24.1 points and 24.2 rebounds per game—numbers so staggering they seem almost impossible to replicate in this day and age.

    Even more impressive? Chamberlain averaged 7.8 assists per game while shooting better than 68 percent from the field.