Mar 22, 2010, 9:00 AM EDT
Jeff Malone was the primary return when the Sixers dealt long-range bomber Jeff Hornacaek to the Jazz. (Well, him and a 1st-round draft pick, which the Sixers promptly and predictably wasted on first-year washout B.J. Tyler). A two-time All-Star and regular 20-ppg scorer back in his 80s days with the Bullets, Malone's best days were firmly in the rearview by the time he showed up in Philadelphia, but he was still an effective scorer for a mid-90s Sixers team badly lacking in punch.
Well, he was when he could get on the court, anyway. In his near-two seasons with the Sixers, Malone played in 76 games, often plagued with injuries. Such injuries had kept him out of the lineup from December 22nd, 1994 until exactly three months later, when he returned to the starting lineup against the Golden State Warriors. Malone was marvelous, scoring a team-high 28 with seven rebounds, as three other Sixers (Dana Barros, Sharone Wright and Shawn Bradley) chipped in double-doubles and the Sixers got a rare 119-102 win. "I've been shooting a lot, but I still surprised myself because I
didn't know what to expect," Malone said of the comeback. "I
just hope that I can continue to contribute."
No such luck. With his comeback rushed a little bit by coach John Lucas, Malone re-aggravated his injuries and was eventually shut down, not playing another game that season. Malone would return to the team the next season, but at age 34 had officially been run down, averaging just 6.2 points on an extremely uncharacteristic 39% shooting percentage in his 25 games in Philly. After being cut midway through the season, Malone played in seven games before being released and retiring. Currently, his greatest claim to relevance might be as the occasional third player (after Moses and Karl) that pops up as a correct answer with guesses of "Malone" on Sporcle NBA quizzes.
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