Philadelphia 76ers

The best 41st picks ever in the NBA draft 

With the Sixers holding the 41st pick, we run through the top players ever taken at that spot.

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Everything’s subject to change, but the Sixers currently hold the 16th and 41st picks in this year's NBA draft. 

What caliber of player can you historically find at those spots? In a literal sense, the answer at No. 41 is a three-time MVP. Nikola Jokic is clearly an outlier, but it is indeed possible to strike gold just about anywhere in the draft.

The best 41st pick ever is self-evident, but here’s an unscientific look at the top 13 of all time (in no particular order):

Nikola Jokic 

Famously drafted 10 years ago during a Taco Bell commercial, Jokic joined the Nuggets a season later. He’s racked up six All-Star selections, those three MVPs, 130 triple-doubles, and an NBA championship while tossing many casually incredible assists. 

Cuttino Mobley 

Mobley teamed up with Steve Francis in his second season and the duo formed an entertaining backcourt with the Rockets. A Philadelphia native, Mobley averaged 18.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.3 steals from the 2000-01 through ’04-05 seasons. 

Popeye Jones 

Jones’ 11-year NBA playing career included a 28-rebound performance on Jan. 9, 1996, which still stands as the Mavericks’ franchise record. He’s now an assistant coach for the Jokic-led Nuggets. 

Jodie Meeks 

Meeks got traded from the Bucks to the Sixers as a rookie and found a consistent role in Philadelphia. The Kentucky product’s last NBA action came as a member of the 2018-19 title-winning Raptors. 

Francisco Elson 

Elson just so happened to move with Meeks in that same 2010 Bucks-Sixers trade. After being drafted by Denver in 1999, the Dutch big man spent four seasons in Spain. He played six games for the Sixers at the tail end of his 472-game NBA career. 

Jawann Oldham 

Another journeyman center taken by the Nuggets, Oldham crossed paths with a young Michael Jordan on the Bulls. 

T.R. Dunn 

Drafted by the Trail Blazers in 1977, Dunn was an every-game fixture for the Nuggets at shooting guard through most of the 1980s alongside Hall of Famer Alex English. Dunn never scored much, but he made the NBA’s All-Defensive Second Team on three occasions. He ranks fourth in Nuggets history in games played, eighth in offensive rebounds and second in steals. 

Tre Jones 

The 24-year-old Jones is the youngest player on our list. He’s been a steady point guard for the Spurs, averaging 11.4 points, 6.4 assists and only 1.6 turnovers over his last two seasons. 

Jerome Whitehead 

Whitehead made a buzzer-beating shot for Marquette in the Final Four and won the 1977 NCAA tournament. His most productive year of an 11-season NBA career was 1981-82, when he posted 13.8 points and 9.2 rebounds per game for the San Diego Clippers. Whitehead died in 2012 at 56 years old.

Willie Green 

Acquired by the Sixers from the Sonics in a 2003 draft-deal draft, Green spent his first seven NBA seasons in Philadelphia before being traded to New Orleans, where he’d one day serve as head coach. 

Pat Connaughton 

A year after going in the fourth round of the MLB draft, Connaughton went in the second round of the NBA draft. Putting up jumpers instead of throwing heaters has worked out fine for him. Connaughton played in all 23 postseason games of the Bucks’ 2021 championship run. 

Otis Smith 

Three years after being selected by the Nuggets, Smith joined the Magic through the NBA’s 1989 expansion draft. Smith retired because of knee problems in his late 20s and later became Orlando’s general manager. 

Jarred Vanderbilt 

When healthy, Vanderbilt has shown he’s an athletic, versatile, hustling player. The 2024-25 season will be his first of a four-year, $48 million extension with the Lakers.

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