The Top 50 Atlanta Hawks of All Time
(All photos courtesy of Google Image Search...sorry)
(Note: Special thanks to Throw for giving this a read prior to publishing. He's way smarter than me!)
(Note 2: Thank you to Guantanamo Geronimo for correcting my trade mistakes. Much appreciated!)
Well hello, fellow Hawks fans. I was bored at work over the holidays and decided to take some time to try to figure out who are the top Atlanta Hawks of all time. I asked myself a lot of questions: Is Koncak a great Atlanta Hawk? What measures a great Hawk? How bored am I? And in asking these questions, I came up with the idiotic idea that I could rank all of the Hawks since the franchise came to Atlanta. I am a glutton for punishment. As I am wont to do, I had to make criteria to narrow down the list and weed out the Blair Rasmussens of the group. Here is how it went down...
1. Had to play for the Atlanta Hawks. Crossover between the two cities is allowed, but no St. Louis-only players will be on this list. They had to appear in the ATL to be considered. I was born in the 70s and refuse to go further back. I assure you, this got a little shaky.
2. Had to be a Hawk in at least three seasons. Did not have to be a full three seasons, but in three seasons together or separate. Let's face it, if you played for one or two seasons, can we really consider you a true Hawk? Thankfully this eliminated JR Rider.
3. No whining about my math and/or picks. I am infallible. You know this.
In order to rank these players, I wanted to include as much as possible in order to balance things out. For example, I could not have Moses Malone come in higher than a Jon Koncak based on 3 seasons of work. This actually happened with my initial math (Moses came in 4th) and I had to go back to the drawing board. So here is what I came up with:
Raw numbers: I added just about all stats together.
1. (Games played+Minutes+Points+Rebounds+Assists+Steals+Blocks) -Turnovers
2. Take that sum and divide it by the number of seasons played to get an average per season.
3. Take that number and multiply it by FG% and then again by FT%
This method is the one that generated Moses as the 4th best Atlanta Hawk of all time. I knew that something was missing. So then I had to brainstorm and come up with what I think is a great multiplier for the list: Number of playoff appearances. Any Atlanta Hawk that appeared in the playoffs regularly (Steve Smith, Cliff Levingston) HAD to be considered better than the ones that didn't (Alan Henderson, Jason Terry). Contributing to a playoff team makes you a better Atlanta Hawk, and a better person in general. It's true. It's in the Bible and the Koran. Trust me...it's towards the back.
Some numbers needed to be adjusted or just flat-out made up in order to get accurate (read: somewhat real) calculations. Steals, Blocks and turnovers weren't kept until the late 1970's so I had to do some creative math. Also, for those who had zero playoff appearances, they couldn't score a zero, so...
1. Playoff appearances of 1 or 0 were multipliers of 1
2. Steals: Career average x Games played. If no average is available, use 0.5
3. Blocks: Career average x Games played. If no average is available, use 0.5
4. Turnovers: Career average x Games played. If no average is available, use 1.5
Using these numbers, I created a list that I feel is not only accurate, but is also very open to debate. Cliff Levingston over Dikembe Mutombo? Not by much, but it happened.
Without further ado, here is the list of the 50 greatest Atlanta Hawks of All Time. There were 76 possible candidates, lots of math, lots of spreadsheets, and a metric ton of "WHO IS THAT?!?!" from me. If I miss anything, feel free to openly mock me in the comments or right to my email inbox. First things first...who did NOT make the list? Here are the dregs of ATL Hawk Society in relation to this list. (Player and overall score).
Did not make the cut:
51. Josh Childress (1515.24)
52. Maurice Evans (1399.62)
53. Scott Hastings (1300.6)
54. Snoop Graham (1283.8)
55. Dwight Jones (1113.3)
56. Tom Henderson (1093.9)
57. Mike Sojourner (799.4)
58. Tyronn Lue (767.33)
59. Theo Ratliff (740.62)
60. Chris Crawford (672.64)
61. Solomon Jones (633.3)
62. Dion Glover (605.72)
63. Nazr Mohammed (570.3)
64. Lorenzen Wright (551.8)
65. Ennis Whatley (525.3)
66. Salim Stoudamire (523.4)
67. Roshown McLeod (377.26)
68. Jason Collins (369.96)
69. Royal Ivey (369.71)
70. Bob Christian (355.5)
71. Anthony Johnson (318.55)
72. Ken Norman (309.71)
73. Mario West (292.89)
74. Cal Bowdler (237.05)
75. Morlon Wiley (168.15)
76. Anthony "Pig" Miller (32.48) - Easily the worst Hawk of all time. You would almost have to show up drunk to get numbers this pathetic.
Now to the meat and potatoes of this experiment. Here is the Top 50 (In increments of ten):
50. Charlie Criss (1714.8)
Five-foot-eight and from New Mexico State. Charlie Criss played for the short lived Scranton Apollos (Pennsylvania proud, baby!) of the CBA before a stint with the Washington Generals. At one point he was the shortest player in the NBA. He retired and was a golf instructor and a Hawks TV personality. Anyone who remembers this gets a gold star. Played in 7 seasons as a Hawk averaging 8.6 points and 3.4 assists. Total NBA career of 10 years with three teams. Not bad for a guy of my exact build.
49. Jason Terry (1740.93)
The JET! It seems like only yesterday Jason Terry was toiling away in a Hawks uniform averaging 16 points and 5.5 assists per game. He was mercifully traded to the Dallas Mavericks, where he played for 8 seasons and won a championship. Poor Jason was marred on this list by a total of zero playoff appearances. Sorry, Jet fans...Terry was far better off outside the ATL making him a low-ranking Hawk.
48. Duane Ferrell (1899.03)
A product of Georgia Tech, Duane Ferrell was a useful, if not forgotten Hawk. With career averages of 7.7 points and 2.1 rebounds in a Hawks uniform, it is easy to see why people don't speak of him much. Ferrell was a beneficiary of three Hawks playoff teams of middling success. He was a pillar of the bench for the Hawks and just one of "those guys" that was strong and could defend at an above average rate. His career highlight is that he was involved in the trade that sent Chris Mullin to the Pacers. He is currently employed by the Hawks as the Player Relations and Programs Manager.
47. Shareef Abdur-Rahim (1947.52)
This is how I knew my math was on point. My opinion of Shareef is not one of high regard. Three seasons, 211 games and a lot of non-hustle. Shareef was one of the stars brought in to guarantee playoffs for the Hawks...which fell flat on their face. Totaled 20.4 points and 8.9 rebounds per game in the ATL, but it should have been more like 25/11 if he wasn't too busy arguing calls. Made the playoffs one time in his career with Sacto in 2005, which should be a surprise to nobody. The most forgettable "star" Atlanta has ever seen. Career highlight for Atlanta: Traded to Portland for Rasheed and Wesley Person. Career low for Atlanta: The Hawks traded the rights for Pau Gaol to get him. Oh and he did score 50 once.
46. Antoine Carr (2100.27)
The original "Big Dog" has played for six teams in his NBA career, but when asked for the list of players I remember, he is top 10. Carr was an average player that had a good defensive skill set and is probably most notable for his contributions to the Jazz teams that went to the Finals. Ugh...those uniforms. Anyway, Carr averaged 7.5 points and 3.3 rebounds in Atlanta, but he also made the playoffs in 3 seasons here. Great role player, mediocre Hawk.
45. Andrew Lang (2257.44)
A mostly forgotten Hawk, Andrew Lang had pretty good years in the ATL averaging 12.2 points, 6.9 boards and 2 blocks per game. Unfortunately for Lang, his biggest career achievement was probably being a part of the trade that sent Charles Barkley to Phoenix for himself, Jeff Hornacek and Tim Perry. Fun fact: Lang is the 55th all-time blocks leader in the NBA.
44. Alan Henderson (2576.8)
Known as "Hendu" amongst Hawks fans, this guy had the strangest array of talents. Not overly strong, but a decent rebounder. Not very athletic, yet could jump through the roof. Horrible shooter, but managed a decent FG%. Sad thing about Hendu is that most will remember him as having the weirdest free throw form ever. Career in Atlanta: 9.4 points, 5.5 rebounds. Forgettable for a 16th pick, but played for 12 seasons. Not bad.
43. Armond Hill (2650.5)
Six ATL seasons he played. Even played into the early 1980s, yet you'd be hard pressed to find a fan who remembers him. Averaging 7.2 points and 5.2 assists he had a pedestrian Hawk career, yet saw his way into the playoffs for three straight years (77-80). Left and came back for one season (83-84) to retire a Hawk. Strangely enough is now an assistant with the LA Clippers under Doc Rivers.
42. Mike Glenn (2670.42)
"The Stinger" as he is known was a slender guard and oft-lampooned TV personality of the Hawks. A whopping 8 points, 1.3 Rebounds and 1.9 assists doesn't seem like a whole lot, but he ended up in the playoffs 3 times in his Hawk tenure. He has been a financial advisor for the NBA pension plan and also runs a lot of basketball camps, but most Hawk fans will remember his famous "HA...HAAA!" from his TV analyst days. You can currently see Mike at halftime of Hawks games alongside Jerome Jurenovich for Fox Sports South.
41. Craig Ehlo (2701.62)
Craig Ehlo was a Hawk that I was PUMPED to get. A shooter who played the right way...and he did pretty much nothing of note in a Hawks uniform. Around 10 points per game, 36% from three and didn't even shoot free throws well (77%...thought he'd be 85% and up), but he was a pillar of Hawks basketball that filled his role well. His standing in this list is helped by his three playoff appearances. As Steve Smith's backup, you could do worse than Ehlo. (Hey I made it through the entire bio with no mention of the Jordan shot!)
Who is coming next on the list? Tune in next week!