The Philadelphia 76ers have selected with the 1st-overall pick in the draft four times in their franchise history.

Markelle Fultz, Ben Simmons, and Allen Iverson had a wide range of successes and failures during their respective tenures with the Sixers. They also account for some of the most memorable stories in NBA history off the court.

Doug Collins also spent his entire career with the Sixers. They drafted him with the top pick three years before the ABA-NBA merger.

A long list of players drafted with the 1st-overall pick by other NBA franchises only had a quick cup of coffee with the 76ers. Most of them have worn the red, white, and blue outside their prime years.

1st-Overall Picks on the 76ers

The NBA Draft Lottery era began in 1985. Out of the 39 players selected with the 1st-overall pick, 10 of them have played for the Philadelphia 76ers. One more spent time within the organization without ever suiting up for a game.

The group includes an incredible range of talent, expectations, and success. Not many NBA fans will look at former All-Stars like Dwight Howard and Chris Webber and consider their stints in Philadelphia major parts of their legacies.

Many people might’ve forgotten about Kwame Brown making a short-lived appearance in a Sixers uniform. 

Despite the persisting storyline about how the Sixers never surrounded Allen Iverson with enough talent, he surprisingly played with five former 1st-overall picks during his time with the 76ers.

Only three of the 38 players drafted with the top pick before 1985 played for the Sixers. Two additional players suited up for the Syracuse Nationals before they moved to Philadelphia in 1963. 

One of the oldest franchises in the NBA has a history involving some of the greatest players ever to step on the hardwood.

14 NBA 1st-Overall Picks Who Played for the 76ers

  • Markelle Fultz

    Markelle Fultz, Philadelphia 76ers

    The Sixers traded with the Boston Celtics to move up to the 1st-overall spot in the 2017 NBA Draft. Markelle Fultz was the top prospect in his draft class, but things soured quickly in the most bizarre way.

    Fultz never found the right headspace in Philadelphia, and the Sixers traded him to the Orlando Magic for a minimal return package in 2019. The Celtics took Jayson Tatum with the third-overall pick.

  • Ben Simmons

    , Philadelphia 76ers

    The fallout from the Ben Simmons saga was ugly, and it defines his legacy in Philadelphia. However, there was once the illustrious appeal of a 6-foot-10 point guard with unimaginable athletic ability.

    Simmons played four seasons in Philadelphia (despite the opportunity to play in parts of six seasons) and made three All-Star appearances. Nobody will remember much other than his infamous pass to Matisse Thybulle with a wide-open dunk right in front of him during the playoffs in 2021.

  • Dwight Howard

    Dwight Howard, Philadelphia 76ers

    Howard developed into one of the most dominant centers in the league after the Orlando Magic selected him with the top pick in the 2004 NBA Draft. 

    He spent 16 seasons in the NBA before signing with the Sixers in 2020 at age 34. He played 81 regular-season and playoff games. Howard made eight All-Star appearances and won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award three times in his career.

  • Kwame Brown

    Former 1st-overall pick Kwame Brown

    Michael Jordan drafted Kwame Brown in a move that was supposed to reinvent the Washington Wizards in 2001. The 6-foot-11 center never fully developed at the professional level. The Sixers became the seventh and final NBA team he played for during a one-year stint in 2012-13.

  • Elton Brand

    Elton Brand, Philadelphia 76ers

    The Chicago Bulls drafted Elton Brand with the 1st-overall pick in 1999. He played nine NBA seasons before signing with the Sixers in 2008. He played 281 regular-season and playoff games in two stints in Philadelphia and later returned in a front-office role.

  • Allen Iverson

    Allen Iverson, Philadelphia 76ers

    The Sixers selected the six-foot guard from Georgetown in 1996 to end the dormant period after the Charles Barkley trade in 1992. Allen Iverson won four scoring titles and led the 76ers to an appearance in the 2001 NBA Finals. He is one of the best players in franchise history and one of the most beloved Philadelphia athletes of all time.

  • Joe Smith

    Former 1st-overall pick Joe Smith

    The Golden State Warriors selected Joe Smith with the 1st-overall pick in 1995. He became a journeyman who spent time with 12 NBA teams, including a stint with the 76ers in 2006-07. He retired with a scoring average in double figures.

  • Glenn Robinson

    Former 1st-overall pick Glenn Robinson

    The Sixers faced the “Big Dog” Glenn Robinson in the 2001 Eastern Conference Finals in the heart of his prime with the Milwaukee Bucks. He later played 42 games in his only season in Philadelphia in 2003-04.

  • Derrick Coleman

    Derrick Coleman, Philadelphia 76ers

    The New Jersey Nets selected Derrick Coleman with the top pick in the 1990 NBA Draft. He played two stints with the Sixers, the first from 1995-1998 and the second from 2001-2004.

  • Doug Collins

    Doug Collins, Philadelphia 76ers

    Doug Collins spent all eight of his NBA seasons with the Sixers after going first overall in the draft in 1973. He made four All-Star teams and returned as the head coach from 2011-2013.

  • Fred Hetzel

    The Warriors left Philadelphia in 1962 and selected Fred Hetzel with the first pick in the draft three years later. Hetzel played the 1969-70 season with the Sixers.

  • Art Heyman

    The New York Knicks selected Art Heyman with the top pick in 1963. He played a forgettable six games in 1965-66 for a franchise that had only recently moved to Philadelphia.

  • Syracuse Nationals

  • Frank Selvy

    The Baltimore Bullets selected Selvy with the first pick in 1954. He played 19 games for Syracuse in 1959-60.

  • Ernie Beck

    The Philadelphia Warriors picked Ernie Beck out of West Catholic High School and the University of Penn in 1953. He played three games for the Syracuse Nationals in 1960 before the move to Philadelphia.

  • *BONUS* Andrew Bogut

    Former 1st-overall pick Andrew Bogut

    The Sixers traded Nerlens Noel to the Dallas Mavericks in February 2017 for a package that included former 1st-overall pick Andrew Bogut. They waived the veteran big man four days later before he ever played a game.

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