Paradoxically, the immensely well-liked centerpiece of the Atlanta Hawks franchise who began the All-Star Sport at 21 years outdated is instantly related to one of many extra maligned draft selections in latest NBA historical past Actually, Trae Younger was thought of the weak finish of the imbalanced deal.
On the 2018 NBA draft Atlanta traded the No. Three choose (Luka Doncic) to the Dallas Mavericks for the no. 5 choose (Younger) and one other first-rounder in 2019 (Cam Reddish). As thrilling as Younger has been by way of his first two seasons, he’s no Doncic. (Reddish’s rookie struggles don’t assist out the Hawks’ case in hindsight, both.) Regardless of 29.6 PPG from Younger in 2019-20, the Hawks wobbled to a disappointing 20-47 file. Consequently, GM Travis Schlenck holds the no. 6 choose within the 2020 draft.
Earlier than the Hawks franchise—which dates again to the good St. Louis groups of the 1950s—tries their luck on Oct. 16, let’s revisit the ten greatest picks in Hawks historical past. (Spoiler: they haven’t drafted spectacularly for the reason that early 1970s, contributing to their 59-year streak of not making the Finals.)
10) Jeff Teague: No. 19, 2009
Teague’s profession peaked in 2014-15 whereas taking part in for Mike Budenholzer’s 60-win Hawks workforce. Teague averaged 15.9 factors and seven.zero assists per sport, incomes thee solely All-Star nod of his profession. Teague performed seven seasons in Atlanta, and averaged 15.1 PPG and 6.Four APG over the ultimate 5. Not unhealthy for a no. 19 choose.
9) Doc Rivers: No. 31, 1983
Rivers ran level for the contending Hawks squads of the 1980s led by Dominque Wilkins. Rivers was constant and dependable coach on the ground on each ends, and made the All-Star sport in 1987-88 when he averaged 14.2 PPG, 9.Three APG and 1.Eight steals per sport. Not surprisingly, Rivers additionally received the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award as a member of the Hawks. All in all, Rivers averaged 13.zero PPG and 6.Eight APG over eight seasons in Atlanta, offering nice worth at no. 31.
8) Lou Hudson: No. 4, 1966
“Candy Lou” Hudson and “Pistol” Pete Maravich fashioned a scintillating mixture within the early 1970s. Hudson, a flexible wing, averaged 18.Four PPG as a rookie and rode his clean shot to 6 All-Star groups. General, Hudson put up 22.2 PPG and 5.1 RPG in 11 seasons within the Hawks, taking part in in each St. Louis and Atlanta. In 1970, he made the All-NBA second workforce (25.Four PPG and 5.Four RPG). Hudson’s groups certified for the playoffs seven instances, and, in 1977, his #23 grew to become the second quantity to be retired by the franchise.
7) Lenny Wilkens: No. 6, 1960
Wilkens has an unparalleled legacy in basketball historical past. He has the second-most teaching wins in NBA historical past, and probably the most losses. Plus, he has been inducted thrice into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Corridor of Fame—as a participant in 1989, as a coach in 1998, and as an assistant coach for the Dream Workforce in 2010. (He’s additionally a member of the School Basketball Corridor of Fame.)
Wilkens’ legendary NBA journey started when the St. Louis Hawks took him sixth within the 1960 draft. Wilkens blossomed right into a star and made 5 of his 9 NBA All-Star video games whereas taking part in with the Hawks. In 1967-68, his ultimate season in St. Louis, he completed second to Wilt Chamberlain in MVP voting.
A 6’1 level guard with a knack for rebounding, Wilkens averaged 15.7 PPG, 5.5 APG, and 5.1 RPG in eight Hawks seasons. Three a long time later, he received Coach of the Yr with Atlanta.
6) Josh Smith: No. 17, 2004
The again half of Smith’s profession is forgettable, however he was a serious X-factor on each ends for six straight playoff groups whereas in Atlanta. Smith grew to become the youngest participant in NBA historical past to dam 1,000 photographs, and he made the All-Defensive Second Workforce in 2009-10. His defensive versatility and position-less nature was forward of its time, and his explosive hops labored to his favor across the rim and on the glass. Plus, Smith was at all times a menace to provide spectacular highlights (together with within the epic 2005 Dunk Contest).
Sure, his three-point taking pictures and shot choice was always lampooned and and he by no means fairly put all of it collectively, however he stays an incredible discover at no. 17. The Georgia-native averaged 15.Three PPG, 8.zero RPG, 2.1 BPG, and 1.Three SPG in 9 seasons for the Hawks. Smith would go away Atlanta in 2013 NBA free company to signal with the Detroit Pistons. That didn’t go effectively.
5) Jason Terry: No. 19, 1999
The assured guard who received an NCAA Championship at Arizona in 1997 quickly became the very best participant for early-2000s Hawks squads. After being chosen no. 19 general, Terry averaged a career-high 19.7 PPG in his sophomore marketing campaign Over his 5 seasons in Atlanta, Terry put up 16.2 PPG and 5.5 APG.
In 2004, Jet was traded together with Alan Henderson to Dallas, the place he would go to win the Sixth Man of the Yr award (2009) and an NBA title (2011).
4) Kevin Willis: No. 11, 1984
Willis was by no means spectacular, however he gave Atlanta stable return on funding for a no. 11 choose. The middle averaged a double-double throughout 4 totally different seasons, and made his solely All-Star workforce (and All-NBA Third Workforce) in 1991-92 when he averaged 18.Three PPG and 15.5 RPG. In his Hawks profession, Willis posted 14.1 PPG and 9.7 RPG.
Usually, Willis is greatest identified for his longevity: he would play 10 extra seasons with seven totally different organizations after his Hawks run, and ranks eighth on the league’s all-time video games performed listing.
3) Al Horford: No. 3, 2007
Horford was coming off two nationwide titles at Florida when Atlanta took him with the no. Three choose in 2007. Like Willis, he wasn’t flashy, however was completely constant and a secure wager for a double-double. Atlanta certified for the playoffs in his rookie season, and did so in every of Horford’s 9 seasons on the town.
Horford averaged 14.zero PPG on 53.5% taking pictures for the Hawks, whereas offering invaluably versatile and high-IQ protection that contributed to 4 All-Star choices. Horford produced 33.Three common season Win Shares and made the All-NBA third workforce in 2010-11.
2) Pete Maravich: No. 3, 1970
Bob Lanier and Rudy Tomjanovich are each within the Corridor of Fame for his or her basketball accomplishments, however I’m unsure how Pistol Pete slipped to no. Three within the 1970 draft. Maravich is one probably the most prolific school basketball gamers in historical past, averaging 44.2 PPG(!) for LSU with a artistic flare that was lightyears forward of his contemporaries.
As a rookie for Atlanta, Maravich averaged 23.2 PPG — a quantity that may have been significantly increased had three-pointers existed in his day (as would his LSU numbers). In 1973, he made his first All-Star workforce and was named second workforce All-NBA, averaging 26.1 PPG, 6.9 APG, and 4.9 RPG. Maravich would make one other All-Star workforce in 1974, solely to be traded to the New Orleans Jazz the next season.
1) Bob Pettit: No. 1, 1955
Pettit is the one long-time Hawks member who will be thought of a high 30 all-time participant. Pettit was one of many elite stars of the league’s salad days, profitable two MVPs (1956, 1959), Rookie of the Yr (1955), two scoring titles, and posting 26.Four PPG and 16.2 RPG over his profession. Extra considerably, he led the Hawks to the franchise’s solely championship (1957-58) and final 4 Finals appearances. In 88 playoff Video games he averaged 25.5 PPG and 14.Eight RPG.
Pettit made the All-Star Sport and All-NBA workforce in all 11 of his NBA seasons, together with 10 first-team choices.
In Sport 6 of the 1958 Finals, Pettit memorably dropped 50 factors on Invoice Russell of the Boston Celtics together with scoring 18 of his the Hawks’ ultimate 21 factors.
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