Looking at ex-Sixers Playing in This Year's NBA Playoffs

If nothing else, the Sixers are in the NBA playoffs by proxy.

No fewer than 18 former team members are (or were) in the postseason, representing 13 of the 16 playoff teams. (The only Sixer-less clubs are Boston, Memphis and Toronto.)

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Here, in inverse order, are the top 10 ex-Sixers in this year's playoffs:

10. Michael Carter-Williams, Chicago
The ultimate endorsement of Sam Hinkie's sell-high approach, MCW began his professional career with a near-quadruple-double against the Miami LeBrons in the 2013-14 opener -- a game, Carter-Williams said earlier this month, that ranks "high up there" on his list of Philadelphia memories. 

"Maybe besides being drafted," he said, "that might be my favorite moment, to be sure."

He wound up Rookie of the Year, but Hinkie traded him midway through the following season, in a deal that brought the Sixers that still-to-be-cashed-in first-rounder from the Lakers. Given the way Carter-Williams' career has flat-lined, you'd have to give the former GM high marks for that transaction.

9. Mo Speights, Los Angeles Clippers
His role has expanded since Blake Griffin was injured, to the point that he was given a start in Game Four against Utah. That's a lot to ask of Speights, who is more of an energy guy off the bench -- usually in low-pressure situations.

8. Evan Turner, Portland
Former Sixers coach Doug Collins was doing a Blazers-Warriors game the other night for ESPN, and he managed to say some nice things about Turner, the second overall pick in 2010 -- how tough he is, how he can handle the ball and create his own shot, etc. Not once did Collins mention Derrick Favors. Nice job by him.

7. Luc Mbah a Moute, Clippers
He locked up Jazz star Gordon Hayward in Games One and Two of their series, then was force-fed a 40-burger by Hayward in Game Three (a game the Clippers nonetheless won). And last time out, Mbah a Moute was powerless to stop the rejuvenated Joe Johnson down the stretch. So it goes, when you're a defensive stopper in a league where no one can truly be stopped. The Cameroonian will forever be remembered as the guy who discovered Joel Embiid seven years ago in a gym in their homeland. 

"Obviously when I saw him he was still very raw, 'til now," Mbah a Moute said in January. "All the compliments to him, to put in the work. … He's a grown man now."

Meniscus willing, Embiid will continue to measure up.

6. Ersan Ilyasova, Atlanta
When the Hawks were in town last month, Sixers coach Brett Brown praised Ilyasova for his "ruthless" preparation, and everyone seems to agree he is the consummate pro. A native of Turkey, who also has U.S. citizenship, he possesses a wider worldview than your average NBA player. Take, for example, his stance on the on-again, off-again travel ban proposed by the current presidential administration: "It seems, like, ridiculous. The United States, it's all immigrants. It's not like the culture was created by the people who were here 1,000 years before. We all come from Europe."

5. Thaddeus Young, Indiana
Swept out of the playoffs by LeBron and Co. on Sunday, he was here as recently as three years ago. Seems far longer. And when asked earlier this month if games in the Wells Fargo Center still stir something within him, he said, "I'm beyond that. … It's always good to see friends and the people I spent seven years with here, but I just take it as another game."

4. Kyle Korver, Cleveland
Have jumper, will travel. He is 35 now, and 14 years removed from the 2003 draft, when the Nets took him in the second round and immediately sold him to the Sixers. Korver, fanatical about his offseason conditioning, led the league in three-point accuracy this season, the third time in the last four years he has done so. He is also tied for fifth all-time in made threes, with 2,049. The thought of him lurking at the arc while LeBron invades the lane is surely not a comforting one for opponents.

3. Lou Williams, Houston
Lou gets buckets. Always has and probably always will, up to the point where he's terrorizing some over-50 league. A second-round pick out of a Georgia high school in 2005, Williams -- who is only 30 -- has never been a high-percentage shooter (.417 lifetime), but he is a high-volume scorer (having rung up over 10,000 points despite starting just 90 of 782 games in his career). He is on his fifth team, and the fire-when-ready Rockets would appear to be a perfect fit. 

2. Andre Iguodala, Golden State
He is now what everyone here always thought he should be -- a complementary player on a great team. He has been part of the Warriors' closing quintet -- their so-called "Death Lineup" -- for four years now, getting stops, setting up the stars, making an occasional shot. During the regular season he led the league in assist/turnover ratio (4.6-to-1), nailed a career-high 52.8 percent of his attempts from the floor, shot the three-ball better than he has in the last five seasons (.362) and sank free throws at his best clip in the last seven (.706).

1. JaVale McGee, Golden State
Folks will little note, nor long remember his six-game stint with the Sixers in 2014-15 (and really, why should they?), but Shaquille O'Neal's close personal friend has resurrected his career with the Warriors – mostly by hanging out near the rim and dunking a bunch of alley-oops. Nice work if you can get it. If nothing else, though, he has given the Dubs' future playoff foes something else to think about. They have an entirely different look and feel when he's on the floor, as was obvious during their sweep of Portland.

Others receiving votes: Lavoy Allen, Indiana; Matt Barnes, Golden State; Isaiah Canaan, Chicago; Dewayne Dedmon, San Antonio; Jerami Grant, Oklahoma City; Spencer Hawes, Milwaukee; Shelvin Mack, Utah; Jason Smith, Washington.

Special citations: Joel Anthony, San Antonio; and Moe Harkless, Portland, who were Sixers on paper only -- Anthony for a hot minute in February 2016, before a trade from Houston was voided, and Harkless for just over a month after the 2012 draft. He was then part of the ill-fated Andrew Bynum trade.

And not to be forgotten: Washington coach Scott Brooks played here back in the day, too.

Oh, and one more thing: Yet another ex-Sixer, Willie Green, is a Warriors player-development assistant. He gets to sit behind the bench and watch that every night.

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