Saturday, January 28, 2012

Top 15 Atlanta Hawks

It has been a long time since our last post, but with hoops in full swing now, the blog entries will be coming. Thanks to loyal reader Beezbo for the topic for was tough narrowing down this list, as you I considered players for the Hawks since their move to Atlanta, but focused only on their time in Atlanta. Walt Bellamy just missed the cut, as he only played a few seasons in Atlanta in his 30's, and Jason Terry was a late scratch due to the awful teams he was forced to be a part of...but I digress...

15) Tree Rollins - Rollins, the Hawks 1st round pick (14th) in 1977, played his first 11 seasons in Atlanta. Never a big scorer, Rollins was a solid presence in the paint, bringing down an average of between 6.0 and 9.4 rebounds per game in each season as a Hawk. Rollins best skill, though, was shot blocking, as he racked up almost 2300 blocks in his Hawk career. He led the league in 82-83 with 343 blocks (4.3 bpg) and was in the NBA's top 5 in blocks per game 8 out of 11 seasons.

14) Al Horford -Horford has had a tremendous start to his Hawk career, even though his 5th season was cut short by injury. Al has started all but 4 games he has appeared in during his career, is a 2-time All-Star, and has finished in the top 10 in rebounding twice. Al's drive, scoring, rebounding, defensive, and passing abilities have him in position to move up this list quickly throughout the next few years.

13) Eddie Johnson - Johnson had a terrific career as a Hawk after being selected in the 3rd round of the 1977 draft out of Auburn. He averaged over 15 points a game and 5 assists a game from 77-85, was a 2-time All-Star (80-81), and twice was named to the 2nd team All-NBA defensive team.

12) John Drew - Drew was an 8 year Atlanta Hawk from 74-82 and was a scoring machine from day 1. After being the Hawks 2nd round pick in 74 out of Gardner-Webb, Drew was a 1st team All-NBA rookie after averaging 18.5 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. He went on to average over 21 points per game 5 times, finishing in the top 10 in the NBA twice.

11) Doc Rivers - The Hawks took Doc in the 2nd Round in 1983, and he immediately became a starter and top contributor for all 8 seasons he spent in Atlanta. His best years were 85-88, as he led the team to 29 playoff games in that stretch, while averaging a double-double in playoff games. Doc averaged a double-double in 86-87 with 12.8 points and 10 assists per game. He was a member of the 1988 All-Star team and had 3 seasons as a Hawk in the top 10 in the league in steals, and 2 seasons in the top 10 in assists.

10) Josh Smith - Smith is a stat sheet filler that has been a key player during the current Hawk stretch of solid playoff teams. In his 8th season, Smith has been a part of 41 playoff games, averaging 15.5 ppg and 8 rebounds per game, slightly above his career averages. He has finished in the top 3 in the NBA in blocks 4 times, the top 10 in steals once, and was a member of the 2nd team All-NBA defensive squad in 09-10. He currently is on pace for his 6th straight season averaging over 15 points per game and over 7 rebounds per game.

9) Mookie Blaylock - Mookie's 7 seasons as the Hawks point guard saw the team reach the playoffs each season. He was a key part of several really good Hawk teams, including the 96-97 team that was one of the top 3 teams in the NBA but ran into the Bulls in Round 2. In his Atlanta career, Mookie was an All-Star in 1994, finished in the top 6 in steals all 7 seasons, was top 3 in 3-pointers made 3 times, and finished top 10 in assists 3 times.

8) Steve Smith - Smith only spent 4 1/2 years in Atlanta, but he was the go-to guy and leader on some of the franchises best teams. He led the team in scoring each season he was a Hawk, peaking with a 20.1 ppg average in 96-97 and 97-98. He hit several game-winning shots and was an All-Star in 1998.

7) Pete Maravich - Pistol Pete played his first 4 seasons in the NBA in Atlanta, and he put on a show. After being the Hawks 1st round pick (3rd overall) in 1970, Pete averaged 23.2 points per game as a rookie. After a slight dip in production in his second season, Pete exploded in the 72-73 and 73-74 seasons, putting up 27 points and 6 assists per game. He was also a 24+ point and 5+ assist per game guy for the Hawks in the playoffs. As a Hawk, Maravich was a 2-time All-Star, finished in the top 10 in scoring 3 times, and was 7th in the league in assists in 72-73.

6) Joe Johnson - True Hawk fans will always love Joe because he came to Atlanta when no other player of his caliber would. He has been a 20+ point scorer since signing as a FA from Phoenix in 2005, and has averaged around 5 assists per game as well. He has made 5 All-Star teams as a Hawk, named All-NBA 3rd team, and finished in the top 10 in 3-pointers made twice.

5) Kevin Willis - Willis played in the league a long time, and his most successful seasons were in Atlanta. Kevin had many big-time seasons in the mid-to-late 80's and early 90's as a Hawk, highlighted by a 18.3/15.5 season in 91-92. He was an All-Star in 92 and was 3rd team All-NBA, finished top 5 in rebounds 3 times, and even came back in 04-05 to contribute some to current Hawk team when they were younger.

4) Dan Roundfield - Roundfield had a tremendous career as a Hawk from 78-84, making 3 All-Star teams and helping the team get to the playoffs 5 times. He averaged 15+ points and 10+ rebounds in each season in Atlanta, peaking at 19.0 and 11.4 in 82-83. Consistently at the top of the NBA leaders in rebounds and blocks, Roundfield earned 1st team All-Defensive team honors 3 times as a Hawk and was 2nd team twice. Roundfield also was rewarded for his 79-80 season with 2nd team All-NBA honors.

3) Dikembe Mutombo - Most of the reason for the success of the mid-to-late 90's team was that they finally signed a dominate center to defend and rebound in Mutombo. Deke averaged a double-double every season as a Hawk, highlighted by a 11.4 ppg and 14.0 rpg season in 99-00. He made 4 All-Star games as a Hawk, was NBA defensive POY twice, led the league in rebounds 3 times, and led the league in blocks twice.

2) Lou Hudson - Sweet Lou spend 11 years as a Hawk, with the last 9 being after the franchise moved to Atlanta. Hudson scored between 22-25 points per game every season in Atlanta, while collecting just under 5 rebounds and 4 assists per game. He was a 6-time All-Star, 2nd team All-NBA in 69-70, top 6 points 3 times, and top 8 in FG's made 4 times.

1) Dominique Wilkins - 'Nique is clearly the top Atlanta Hawk of all-time as he did it all while in Atlanta from 82-93. Wilkins was a scoring champion, slam dunk champion, 7-time All-NBA, 8 time All-Star, and one of the greatest scorers in NBA history. Dominique consistently was an MVP candidate and top scorer in the league, and was recent inductee to the NBA Hall of Fame.