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Ranking the Top Centers in Philadelphia 76ers History

While the Philadelphia 76ers haven’t won the NBA Finals since 1983, they’ve had many dominant players throughout their team’s history. Looking specifically at the center position, every successful season the Sixers have put together has included a big man who’s been a catalyst for the team’s offense. These players were scoring machines who also excelled at grabbing rebounds and blocking shots.

3. Joel Embiid

By the end of his career, Embiid could be at the top of this list. However, it hasn"t always been smooth sailing for the seven-footer. After he was drafted third overall out of Kansas in 2014, Embiid missed two full seasons due to a broken navicular bone in his foot. Embiid returned to the court in 2016 and was strong, but he suffered a knee injury that limited him to just 31 games, and he lost out on Rookie of the Year honors to Malcolm Brogdon as a result.

In the ensuing years, Embiid has been one of the best players in the NBA regardless of position, making five straight All-Star Games and winning the scoring title in the 2021-22 season. He even shot 37% from three-point range in consecutive seasons and has averaged over four assists per game once. In addition, Philadelphia has gone from being a league laughingstock to a perennial playoff team thanks to Embiid"s performance. Health will be the biggest key to Embiid rising in this list, as he"s never played more than 68 games in a season, but he"s an MVP-caliber player when he"s on the court.

2. Moses Malone

When Moses Malone was traded to Philadelphia in 1982, the 76ers were coming off an NBA Finals loss to the Lakers, and the team lacked a dominant big man. In his first season with the Sixers, Malone led the team in scoring, rebounding, and blocking. He won the league rebounding title for the fourth time and won his second straight MVP. Malone led the way once again in the playoffs as the Sixers breezed their way to a title, sweeping the Lakers and losing just once all postseason. From the 1982-83 season to the 1985-86 season, Malone averaged 23.9 points per game and 13.8 rebounds per game, shooting just under 48% from the field and leading the league in rebounds three times. His number 2 was retired by the Sixers and he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001.

1. Wilt Chamberlain

While Chamberlain may have only played 3.5 seasons for the Sixers, he had an immense impact on the franchise. The team was just two years removed from being the Syracuse Nationals and hadn"t won a league title in a decade.

During his time with the Sixers, the Philadelphia native averaged a dominant 27.6 points and 23.9 rebounds per game and was also a prolific passer, averaging 6.8 assists per game. Chamberlain also shot just over 58% from the field and led the league in both field-goal percentage and rebounds each season he played for the Sixers. In the 1966-67 season, Chamberlain helped the Sixers finally reach the promised land, defeating his former team, the Warriors, in six games in the NBA Finals.

Though Chamberlain didn"t lead his team in scoring, he averaged a whopping 28.5 rebounds per game and 6.8 assists per game while shooting 58% from the field. This performance included a triple-double in Game 2 in which Chamberlain scored just 10 points, but snagged 38 rebounds and dropped 10 assists. Chamberlain had his number 13 retired by the Sixers and he was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1978.

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