Philadelphia 76ers and Moses Malone: The NBA Swapping Game

Tarik MowattContributor IIIMay 27, 2011

Center Moses Malone of the Atlanta Hawks tries to block the ball during a game against the Dallas Mavericks at Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas.
Joe Patronite/Getty Images

Warning: Extreme amounts of imagination exist within this article. Anyone who does not have an imagination may not find this article as enjoyable.


The 76ers">Philadelphia 76ers are a tough, young group. This postseason, they courageously battled the superior Miami Heat squad. (If you didn't watch this series, just imagine the movie 300.) Despite a valiant effort, the Heat won the series, four games to one. They gave it all they had, but the 76ers lacked the experience to compete with the Heat.

As I watched the games on television I thought, "They really need a better interior presence. Who could fill that gap?" Well, today I won't be looking at present NBA rosters for that answer—we will be looking in the past. Enter Moses Malone.

This 6'10" center/forward didn't start his career with the 76ers, but he won his only championship with them. He was also named the Finals MVP with Philadelphia, which is notable enough for me. He is exactly what the young 76ers need.

The current 76ers starting center, Spencer Hawes, will be replaced with Moses Malone. Spencer is 23 years of age, so we will compare him with a 23-year-old Malone. Here is how they stack up:

Player Points Per Game Rebounds Per Game Assists Per Game Three-Point Percentage
Field-Goal Percentage
Free-Throw Percentage
Spencer Hawes
5.7 1.5 24.3%
53.4% 53.4%
Moses Malone
24.8 17.6
54% 73.9%

*Malone was 23 in 1978 and the NBA adopted the three-point field goal in the 1979–80 season


Moses Malone blows away Spencer Hawes in just about every category, except for field-goal percentage, which is virtually the same.

Moses Malone might have been able to give that series against the Heat more life. This is no knock on Spencer by any means. He is a young player, a true seven-footer and he may end up being a solid double-double guy.

Anyway, back to the subject.

This year the 76ers had a record of 41-41—exactly .500. With such a huge upgrade at the center position, how would the 76ers fair? Moses Malone would end up being the leading scorer and would lead the way in rebounds. That being said, I'm giving the 76ers a 52-30 record with Moses Malone at least. Crazy thinking, you say? Don't be so quick to judge.

The 76ers have a spectacularly athletic team. What they truly lack is a go-to guy, and a big man. Yet again, not a knock on Spencer, but six rebounds when you're 7'0" is not breaking any records—that's Andrea Bargnani territory and you want to stay far away from there.

Moses Malone is both a go-to guy and a true big man—all while shooting 20 percent better than Hawes from the free-throw line. The 76ers can play hard for most of the game, but it's usually inexperience or trouble scoring down the stretch that causes them to lose. Moses Malone may not have had the experience at 23 years old, but he certainly fits the bill otherwise.

Would the 76ers have gotten past the Heat? Probably not. If they would have, they may have ended up taking out the Celtics too. Besides Jermaine O'Neal (who decided he wanted to look like he was still a Pacer), the Celtics would have no answer for Malone. The youth and speed of the 76ers would have prevailed against them.

Against the Bulls? Not so much. Noah would have matched up well enough to keep Moses from taking over the series—not to mention Deng and Rose would have thrived against their respective matchups. The Bulls would have ended it in five.

So, in conclusion, I personally think if Moses Malone swapped places with Spencer Hawes, the team would be much different. With a massively talented starting lineup, they would just need more depth, and maybe another starting power forward. (Not Elton Brand's fault—he's 32 and should be a part of a veteran squad gunning for a championship.)


Note: If you would like me to write an article for you about anything related to the NBA, I'd be more than glad to do so, just leave a comment. Writing for other people is usually a good way for me to stay motivated. Thanks for reading.