The Hawks' Top Five All-Time Draft Picks
An NBA Champion, “The Human Highlight Film,” “Sweet Lou,” “The Jet,” and the “Plastic Man”.
Three out of the five draft picks have their numbers retired with the Hawks.
The two who do not share a retired jersey with the other three did not play the majority of their career with the Hawks.
However, if they had stayed in Atlanta, they would no doubt belong next to the jerseys of Bob Pettit, Lou Hudson, and Dominique Wilkins.
No. 9 gave them their only championship. He also gave them a dominant force during the late 1950s and early 1960s.
No. 21 had a style that was all his own. His flying through the air lasted for 12 years in Atlanta. He led the Hawks to four straight 50-win seasons, challenged Michael Jordan in slam dunk contests, and went toe-to-toe with Larry Bird.
No. 23 ushered in the beginning of the Hawks Era in the city of Atlanta, and with Pete Maravich, became the second teammates to total 2,000 points in a season.
The No. 4 and No. 5 all-time Hawk draft picks are unlike the first three because they only played a few seasons with the franchise. But, just like the other three, their impact on the team after the draft was just as big.
Stacey Augmon was a defensive nightmare for his opponents; sort of like today's Bruce Bowen, but more likable. He usually was a league leader in steals and only trailed Mookie Blaylock in leading the team in steals. In his rookie season, he started all 82 games and scored the league's six-millionth point.
Jason Terry, rounding out the top five, became an Atlanta Hawk in the 1999 draft. He became the first Hawk since Augmon to be named to the first or second All-Rookie Team. In just his fourth season with the Hawks, he tied one franchise milestone and passed Hawk legend Dominique Wilkins in another.
No. 5 Jason Terry
Jason “The Jet” Terry was the 10th overall pick taken in the NBA draft. Terry played only five seasons for the Hawks before being traded in a package deal to the Dallas Mavericks.
He played 81 games in his rookie season, becoming the first Hawk in seven years to be named to the first or second team All-Rookie team. He also started the final 27 games of the season, putting up 10.6 ppg and 7.0 apg. His 4.3 apg led the team.
In the 2000-01 season Terry was the only Hawk to play in all 82 games. His scoring average went up by 11.6 ppg from his rookie year, leading the team at 19.7 ppg, and was named to the sophomore squared in the All-Star Rookie Challenge.
In Terry’s fourth year in the league, the Hawks added Glenn Robinson to the roster, giving Terry a chance to showcase his passing skills. He posted a career-high 7.4 assists, and still was the team’s third-highest scorer with 17.2 points. On February 28th he got the first triple-double of his career. In a win against the Chicago Bulls, he got 23 points, 13 assists, and 10 rebounds.
That was just the beginning for Terry's fourth year with the Hawks; he also reached two franchise milestones. He finished the season with 600 assists, joining Glenn “Doc” Rivers and Mookie Blaylock as the only three Hawks to do so. He passed Dominique Wilkins for third place on the Hawks’ all-time three-pointer list at 502.
No. 4 Stacey Augmon
The “Plastic Man”
Stacey Augmon was the ninth overall pick in the 1991 draft. Augmon went to UNLV, where he and his teammates Greg Anthony and Larry Johnson went to the NCAA Championship two years in a row. The Runnin’ Rebels won its only basketball title in 1990. Augmon and UNLV returned to the championship game the following year, but did not complete the repeat.
In his debut year in the NBA, Augmon was the only rookie to start all 82 games. Augmon’s reputation as a defensive specialist would continue at the NBA level, finishing as Atlanta’s steals leader with 124. He also was third in scoring at 13.3 ppg, and second in rebounding with 51 rpg. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team, and on March 23rd he scored the league’s six-millionth point.
Augmon’s sophomore was plagued by injuries, but he would bounce back next season. In his third season, he and Blaylock helped lead Atlanta to 915 team steals, the second most in the NBA during the 1993-94 season. It was also the second best in team history. Augmon posted a career-best 149 steals, trailing just Blaylock for the team-high and 16th overall in the league.
Next year Augmon was moved to the small forward position and his play declined. He shot the lowest of his career since his rookie year, finishing with a .453 field-goal percentage. And again, Augmon had a season with injuries.
In his final season with Atlanta, Augmon again was among the team leader in steals, and reached double figures in points in 55 games. He played in 77 games, starting in 49 of them. He also shot .491 from the field and .794 from the foul line.
After the season, the “Plastic Man” and Grant Long were traded to the Detroit Pistons for two first-round and two second-round draft picks.
No. 3 Lou Hudson
“Super Lou”! “Sweet Lou”!
The St. Louis Hawks selected Lou Hudson from the University of Minnesota in the first round of the 1966 draft.
The 6’5", 215 pound Hudson made the All-NBA Rookie Team, averaging 18.4 ppg. The following season, he was called to serve in the military and did not return to the franchise until the 1968-1969 season.
When he returned, the Hawks were no longer in St. Louis but in their third and current city, Atlanta. Hudson recorded the first basket for the Atlanta Hawks at Georgia Tech’s Alexander Memorial Coliseum. He and teammate Pete Maravich scored over 2,000 points during the 1972-73 season. This feat had only been accomplished by two other players in league history.
Along with having his jersey retired, “Sweet Lou” shares the Hawks’ single game scoring record of 57 points, with Pettit and Wilkins.
In his 13-year career, Hudson put up 20.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg, and 2.7 apg. He lives in Park City, Utah, where he was the 1992 “Citizen of the Year” for his charitable activities in 1992.
No. 2 Dominique Wilkins
This man needs no introduction. His retired No. 21 is hanging up proudly in Philips Arena.
“The Human Highlight Film”! “Nique”!
Dominique Wilkins was the third overall pack in the 1982 draft taken by the Utah Jazz. However, Wilkins refused to sign a deal with the Jazz, and was traded to the Hawks for John Drew, Freeman Williams, and cash—perhaps the Hawks’ best draft move in their history.
In his rookie year, Wilkins averaged 17.5 ppg and was named to the All-NBA Rookie Team. His rookie year was the only year he averaged less than 20 ppg in his 12 years with the Hawks.
He was a two-time NBA Slam Dunk Champion (1985, 1990), and led the Hawks to four straight 50-win seasons from 1985-1989. In 1986 he won the NBA scoring title, averaging 30.3 ppg.
In 1988, Wilkins met Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The series went seven games, and concluded with a showdown between Bird and Wilkins in the Boston Garden; a showdown that would define Wilkins’ career.
In Game Seven, Wilkins had the game-high with 47 points, shooting a near perfect 19-of-23 from the field. Bird only got 34, but 20 came in the fourth quarter.
In the final 3:34 of the game, both Bird and Wilkins scored 11 straight points. But, Bird’s three-pointer over Wilkins with 1:43 left in the game helped the Celtics get past the Hawks, 118-116.
On February 24, 1994, the Hawks traded Wilkins to the Los Angeles Clippers for Danny Manning. Wilkins’ career with the Hawks was over after 12 years, marking the end of one of the greatest eras in Hawk history.
Wilkins finished with 26,534 points, becoming the 12th player to reach at least 25,000 career points, was seventh on the all-time scoring list, and 10th in career scoring average at 25.3 ppg when he retired in 1999. He was a nine-time NBA All-Star and elected into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.
Wilkins is back with the Hawks today after becoming the VP of Basketball in the Atlanta Hawks’ front office in 2004.
No. 1 Bob Pettit
In 1954 the Hawks franchise welcomed into the NBA a future Hall of Famer, an NBA champion, and the first player to reach 20,000 career points. One of only three retired jerseys in the franchise, No. 9 Bob Pettit.
Pettit, out of Louisiana State University, was chosen by the Milwaukee Hawks in the first round of the ’54 draft.
He wasted no time proving his critics wrong when they said he would not be able to play with the big boys in his first season. Pettit averaged 20.4 points per game and 13.8 rebounds while on his way to winning Rookie of the Year and being named to the All-NBA First Team.
In 1955, the Hawks moved to St. Louis and Pettit’s game followed. Despite having only played one year in the NBA, Pettit led the league in points (25.7) and rebounds per game (16.2); winning his first of two MVP awards for the regular season. He also was the MVP of the All-Star game in ‘56.
From 1957-1961 Pettit led the St. Louis Hawks to four straight NBA Finals. In the 1957 season, Pettit squared off against the Celtics. The Hawks would lose the series, despite the 29.8 ppg and 16.8 rpg performance from Pettit.
However, the two teams met again next season. This time, Pettit came out on top. It is still the only NBA Championship of the franchise, and it includes one of its greatest moments.
In Game Six the Hawks up 3-2 series, Pettit scored 50 points to close out the Celtics by one point. It was a new NBA playoff record at the time, and all 50 were needed in the 110-109 victory in 1958.
He added the final MVP of his career in 1959. Two years later, Pettit had his best season. He averaged 31.1 ppg and 18.7 rpg.
Pettit retired at the end of the 1965-65 season. After an 11-year career, he finished with 20,800 points, 12,849 rebounds, and 2,369 assists.
He was a 10-time All-NBA First Team, inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1970, and named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history at the 1996 All-Star game.