Atlanta Hawks Top 20 All-Time Players: Counting Down From #10 To #6
With the Season Opener coming on Wednesday, I bring you Part Two of a 3 part series "The Atlanta Hawks Top 20 All-Time Players Series". In this list I countdown the top Ten players who I think should be valued as the cream of the crop for the franchise. Without further delay, let's countdown... Can you guess who will make the next five as well get closer to revealing Number 1?
#10 Tree Rollins: Atlanta Hawks 1977-1988
Here is a very controversial pick as Rollins was never an offensive force for the Hawks, but his dedication on the Boards and the defensive end give him the nod here as he was well feared around the league for many years.
At 7'1 275 pounds, he was drafted by Atlanta out of Clemson University, he was nicknamed "The Intimidator" for his ability to block anything that came his way.
his career highlights include:
- eighth all-time in NBA blocks
- Hawks all-time career blocks leader
- two-time All-Defensive Team selection
- first Clemson Athlete ever to have jersey retired
He retired in 1995 after 18 years in the league and has since had stints in coaching (Washington Mystics asst coach in 2006)
#9 Dikembe Mutombo: Atlanta Hawks: 1996-2001
Dikembe was best known for his amazing Shot Blocking ability often finished off by his signature "Finger Wave" where he would look at players after a block and wave his finger to emphasize his dominance.
Mutombo would be an anchor on defense for years, often averaging 10 points on offense as well.
Mutombo is an active humanitarian in which he has opened up a hospital in his native Congo and continues to donate his time an money to ensure proper living conditions in his homeland.
Mutombo's Atlanta Hawks most memorable contributions:
- four-time All-Star
- 3 Defensive Player of the Year awards
- four-time All-Defensive Team selection
- two-time All-NBA selection
Mutombo would end his 18 year career in 2009 after knee injuries got the best of him.
#8 Joe Johnson: Atlanta Hawks: 2005- Present
This is the most debatable choice on the entire list, but the reason I chose Johnson this high is his value to the franchise and how much the guard from Arkansas has blossomed in his time as a Hawk.
Despite Johnson's huge contract signed in the off season (6 years, $119 Million), and his disappearance in last year's playoffs, Johnson has done many things well for the Hawks since 2005 including these top all-time list making accomplishments:
- 10th in Field Goals
- 5th with 21.7 PPG
- 2nd in 3pt field goals
- 2nd in 3pt field goals made
Johnson also has been voted to 4 all star games (2007-2010) and the All NBA 3rd team (2010)
Joe Johnson will look to continue his trek toward becoming one of the top 5 Hawks all time best players as he under a new coach this season in Larry Drew who has installed a new Motion offense best suited for Johnson to get easier looks to score outside of isolation plays.
#7 Pete Maravich - Atlanta Hawks - 1970-1974
"Pistol" Pete Maravich was regarded and always will be one of the best point guards to step foot on the NBA hardwood.
Maravich was drafted by the Hawks 3rd overall and quickly became a fan favorite as the Hawks main attraction thus leading the Hawks his rookie season with 23.2 points per game.
Maravich is highly noted for his unique and exceptional ball handling skills, often times demonstrating moves that no one else could pull off, let alone even attempt.
Pete Maravich spent four seasons with the Hawks before being sent to the Utah Jazz, he retired in 1980 due to a sever leg injury.
Maravich died suddenly in 1988 due to heart attack brought on by an enlarged right coronary artery.
- NBA Hall of Fame member
- two-time All-Star
- All-Rookie Team
- one-time All-NBA selection
He was the youngest player ever inducted in the Hall of Fame in 1987 at age 39.
#6 Lenny Wilkens: Atlanta Hawks Coach 1993-2000,St.Louis Hawks Player: 1960-1968
Lenny Wilkens was drafted 6th overall by the St.Louis Hawks in the 1960 draft, where he spent the next eight seasons carving out an accomplished playing career, as he was a prototypical point guard often looking for an assist just as much as his own scoring. Wilkens would become a 5 time all star for the Hawks before being traded to Seattle in which he would then transition into the next phase of his illustrious NBA career.
Wilkens was best known as a player/coach for the latter part of his career, and would eventually become the Atlanta Hawks Head Coach from 1996-2000, carving his name into second place all time behind Don Nelson for Coaching Wins.
Wilkens would retire from coaching in 2005, with a total of 1,332 wins and 1,155 losses.