Atlanta Hawks Top 20 All-Time Player Rankings: Counting Down No. 20 To No. 11
Pre-Season is coming to a close as the offseason remained quiet for the Atlanta Hawks franchise. Today I would like to navigate through my list of Top 20 All-Time Atlanta Hawks players.
I put together a comprehensive list of Hawks players who have meant the most to the franchise's success.
Today I would like to run through Part 1 of the list with picks #20 to #11 on the all-time list with Part 2 coming by the end of the week.
Look forward to your comments and hearing your choices for the top 20...
# 20: Stacey Augmon: Atlanta Hawks 1991-1996
Augmon played college basketball for four years at UNLV and won the 1990 NCAA Championship with them. Augmon was the first three-time winner of the NABC Defensive Player of the Year, winning the award in 1989, 1990, and 1991, he then took his defensive ability to the NBA as he was one of the 1991 NBA draft's most herald defensive standouts.
Augmon was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks with the ninth pick of the 1991 NBA Draft. Upon Augmon being chosen, he was affectionately labeled "The Plastic Man" for his ability to Stretch and use his length to disrupt defenders.
Augmon spent five seasons as an Atlanta Hawk 1991-1996 before being moving on to play for five other teams before his retirement in 2006.
#19: Steve Smith: Atlanta Hawks 1995-1999
An All-American guard out of Michigan State, Smitty quickly showed his versatility, averaging 17.3 points/ 4.5 rebounds/5.1 assists per game the year before being traded to the Hawks.
While Smith never made it to the level of which he was compared in college,although Smith was ranked #2 all-time in offensive rating, producing 114 points per 100 possessions.
Smith was a leader and steadying force on the floor, and its most capable offensive weapon on a team that routinely made the playoffs during Smitty's time there. Smitty's Hawks won (60) percent of their games, an average of over 49 per season and did so in an era where the East was definitely dominant with the Bulls, Knicks,Heat, and Magic being so strong.
During Smith's (5) seasons as top scorer on the Hawks, they were never better than second to last in possessions per game, playing at an almost insanely low 88.74 possessions per 48 minutes.
Smith went on to play until the 2004-2005 season when he retired, he is now an analyst for NBA TV.
# 18: Josh Smith: Atlanta Hawks 2004-Present
Atlanta native (McEachern High School) Josh Smith finished his high school career at Oak Hill Academy and was stolen at #17 by then-GM Billy Knight after Smith's stock dropped from the lottery due to questionable work habits and a raw skill set.
Smith added his limitless athleticism to the mix his rookie year, revived (for one year at least) the NBA Dunk Contest, and give Hawks fans a potential star to make it worth coming to the games for.
During his (457) games as a Hawk, Smith has proved his critics wrong each year.He has worked every offseason in improving his game, and his results on the court seem to prove that out, gaining in PER every season, except for 2008-2009, when he came back from an early season injury and never captured his previous season form, logging career lows in block rate and rebound rate.
Smith already ranks 13th in games played as an Atlanta Hawk, he will only turn (25) this December. It's important to remember his previous improvements and age when commenting (as you know we do) about his still not optimized shot attempts and lapses in defensive fundamentals.
That Smith hasn't still harnessed all the potential in his NBA skillset yet and is still 7th in defensive rebound rate, 9th in total rebound rate, 3rd in block rate, and 10th in PER speaks to where Smith may yet end up on lists such as these after his career in the ATL has ended.
#17: Dan Roundfield: Atlanta Hawks: 1978-184
Dan Roundfield was a three-time NBA All-Star in six seasons with the Hawks in the late 1970's and early '80s. Known for his defensive prowess he often anchored the teams defense leading the charging Hawks to the Playoffs in each of his five seasons with the team. He often is described as the 80's version of Ben Wallace, but with a consistent 18 foot jump shot and a player who could hit clutch Free Throws.
Roundfield played ten seasons in the league before retiring and is now living in Atlanta working for a consulting firm.
# 16: Walt Bellamy: Atlanta Hawks: 1970-1974
"Bells" as he was affectionately known was drafted out of Indiana University in 1961 as the 1st overall pick.
Bellamy was named the NBA Rookie of the Year in 1962 after having arguably one of the three greatest rookie seasons in NBA history, averaging 31.6 points per game that season coupled with 19 rebounds per game.
Bellamy played for the Bullets, Knicks and Pistons before being traded to the Atlanta Hawks in 1970.
Bellamy averaged just 11.6 points that season, but he rallied to average 14.7 points for the Hawks in 1971, 18.6 in '72 and 16.1 in '73. Each season, the Hawks made the playoffs. He had one more solid season, averaging 13.1 points and 9.6 rebounds for the Hawks in 1973-74
Bellamy ended his NBA career with 20,941 points and 14,241 rebounds. Bellamy was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993.
#15: Zelmo Beaty: St.Louis/Atlanta Hawks: 1962-1969
Zelmo Beaty spent his first seven pro seasons with the Hawks- six in St. Louis, plus the franchise’s first in Atlanta. Beaty did average 17points and 11 Rebounds in 63 playoff games with the Hawks.
Among centers, Beaty ranks in the top three in franchise history in games played (1st), minutes (2nd), points (1st), rebounds (2nd) and assists (3rd).
Beaty He retired in 1975 with combined ABA/NBA totals of 15,207 points and 9,665 rebounds. He briefly served as a coach for the ABA's Virginia Squires.
# 14: Doc Rivers: Atlanta Hawks: 1983: 1991
Rivers was drafted in the second round (31st overall) of the 1983 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks. He spent the next seven seasons as a starter in Atlanta, assisting star Dominique Wilkins as the team found great regular-season success. He averaged a double-double for the 1986-87 season with 12.4 points and 10.0 assists per game
He is known as one of the great Point Guards in Hawks history with career averages of 10.9 points, 5.7 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game
Rivers went on to play Clippers, Knicks and Spurs before retiring in 1996.
He has since went on to be a head coach for the Orlando Magic (1999-2003) and the Boston Celtics (2004-Present) winning an NBA Title in 2008 with the Boston Celtics.
#13: Eddie Johnson: Atlanta Hawks: 1977-1986
Eddie "Fast" Johnson joined the Atlanta Hawks as a relatively unsung prospect, picked 49th overall in the 1977 draft.. Averaging 10.5 points, the rookie helped the Hawks return to the playoffs after a four-year absence, a feat repeated in six of Johnson’s eight full years with the club.
Johnson became a starter in 1978–79, In only his third year in the league, fans voted Johnson into a starting spot in the NBA All-Star Game. Johnson ranked second on the Hawks in scoring, with a career-high 19.1 points per game to finish out the season.
Although one of the more popular Hawks during his tenure, Johnson was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers midway through the 1985–86 season. He would finish his career with theSeattle SuperSonics a year later. Kicked out of the league for failing to cut his drug addiction, Johnson left the game in 1987.
In 675 NBA games, "Fast Eddie" Johnson scored 10,163 points, with a career average of 15.1 points per game, reaching double figures in scoring in 9 of his 10 years in the NBA.
In 2006 Johnson was arrested for Sexual Battery on a minor and burglary, sentenced in 2008 to life in prison without parole.
# 12: Kevin Willis: Atlanta Hawks: 1984 To 1994, 2004
Kevin Willis was drafted 11th overall in the 1984 draft by the Atlanta Hawks out of Michigan State University.
Willis would go on to play Nine full seasons with the Hawks and Two games in a tenth season, and returned in 2004 to play 29 games with the club, often displaying a knack for rebounding and defensive hustle.
Willis ranks fifth all-time in NBA games played, seventh all-time in NBA offensive rebound, Hawks all-time career offensive rebounds leader, Hawks all-time career defensive rebounds leader.
He retired in 2006.
#11 Mookie Blaylock: Atlanta Hawks: 1992-1999
Mookie Blaylock was drafted 12th overall in the 1989 Draft by the NJ Nets before being traded to the Hawks in 1992, thus settling into his prominent role of franchise PG under Coach Lenny Wilkens.
Blaylock was an outstanding defensive player and could easily lead the team with his diverse passing skills and reliable mid range and 3pt jump shot.
Blaylock ranks first in Steals all-time for the Hawks and first in 3pt shots made.
Blaylock would play for 7 seasons with the Hawks before being traded to Golden State in 1999, then retiring in 2002.