Philadelphia 76ers news: Looking back at the 1993 NBA Draft

Episode three of the Sixers Multiverse Podcast – a summer engagement series of the Out of Site Podcast on the Liberty Ballers Network – is a trip to a (kind of) distant past. The year is 1993. The Philadelphia 76ers are one year removed from the Charles Barkley trade in Phoenix, which left the team without a franchise player for the first time in a long time.

There was no Barkley. There was no Julius Erving. There was no Bobby Jones. There was no one. Clarence Weatherspoon was drafted as the player that could take Sixers basketball into a new era, but the team needed more.

The 1993 NBA Draft provided many possibilities. The University of Memphis guard Anfernee Hardaway was a choice on the table, as was the University of Kentucky scoring forward Jamal Mashburn. The Sixers were coming off a very uninspired 26-56 season under coaches Doug Moe and Fred Carter (who was fired midseason).

There was no direction, one (maybe) franchise player, and not too much hope in the franchise after getting virtually nothing for Sir Charles. It could have gone well with Hardaway or Mashburn in a Sixers uniform as the team held the #2 overall pick. Michigan big man Chris Webber likely wasn’t in play as the Orlando Magic had the #1 and were probably going to draft him. (They did, but ultimately traded him to the Golden State Warriors for the #3 overall pick and multiple firsts on top of it.)

Still, the Sixers had an excellent opportunity to pair someone with Witherspoon (be it Hardaway – a guard that reminded many of Magic Johnson – or Mashburn, someone that could be an instant scorer in the league). What happened wasn’t that, however. Instead, the Sixers drafted BYU center Shawn Bradley second overall in 1993.

It was a move that was questionable, to say the least, given Bradley’s size and having to spend time away from basketball due to a missionary appointment as a result of his attending BYU. However, this draft is an incredible case of “What If…”, and with regular co-host Dave Early in an alternate universe, Jas Kang joins Adio Royster to explore the possibilities of what could have been had the Sixers drafted Hardaway #2 overall instead of Bradley.

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