The Atlanta Hawks might not have the richest NBA franchise history, or NBA Draft history for that matter, but we’re going to be positive nonetheless. In this space, we’ll look to reveal an all-time NBA Draft team, taking into account many factors.
The Hawks have 19 playoff appearances since their first season in Atlanta (1968-1969), but this list will cover any St. Louis Hawk draft selection that went on to give a contribution worthy of consideration. This hypothetical roster will include a full bench as well as and five “starters.”
The criteria is based on what the selections went on to do in Atlanta as well as the quality of their overall career. Sorry, Pau Gasol. Dominique Wilkins is also exempt from consideration as he was drafted by the Utah Jazz then traded to Atlanta a few months later amid some uncertainties surrounding the Jazz organization at the time.
Now, let’s get to the list.
Point guard - Jason Terry
Round 1, Pick 10, 1999
Terry currently rests with over 18,000 career points and 2282 three-point field goals made to date, good enough for third in NBA history, for now anyways. His most notable achievement came a season or two past his prime, when he, Dirk Nowitzki, and fellow aging guard Jason Kidd helped will an underdog Dallas Mavericks team to an NBA championship in 2011. Terry averaged 15 points per game 12 times in his career, including a career high 19.7 in his sophomore campaign for Atlanta. A career 38 percent shooter from deep, Terry will be remembered for his quick trigger and ability to pour in the points in bunches. He also took home the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award in 2009.
Shooting guard - Pete Maravich
Round 1, Pick 3, 1970
Whoever the Hawks choose third (assuming there’s not a trade) on Thursday night will certainly have their work cut out for them if they want to be considered the best number three pick in the franchise’s history. Maravich scored almost 16,000 points during a career that spanned only 658 games. Keep in mind he was a prolific deep shooter and there was no three point line during his career. On top of that, in Atlanta he was forced to split touches with an incumbent star wing Lou Hudson. Maravich was an all-star in two of his four seasons in Atlanta. Following the 1974 season, he was traded to the upstart New Orleans Jazz for six draft picks (two of them were expansion picks in the 1974 expansion draft) . Maravich is a Hall of Famer and his number 44 hangs from the rafters in Atlanta despite him only being with the club for four seasons.
Small forward - Lou Hudson
Round 1, Pick 4, 1966
The Hawks didn’t move from St. Louis to Atlanta until after Hudson’s second season in the NBA, but Hudson wasted little time getting used to his new home after the move in 1968. He made the All-Star game six consecutive seasons spanning from 1968-69 to 1973-74, scoring over 2,000 points in three of those seasons. He ranks top six in Hawks’ history in the following categories: points (third), points per game (fourth), games (sixth), minutes played (third), field goals (third), field goal attempts (third), free throws (fifth), free throw attempts (fifth), and steals per game (fourth). His number 23 is retired by the organization.
Power forward - Al Horford
Round 1, Pick 3, 2007
Little to say here. Horford’s valuable contributions are fresh in Hawks’ fans minds as is the memory of losing him to the Boston Celtics in free agency. We’ll see how long he plays at his current level, but Hall of Fame consideration is not totally out of the question for him at this point, although he will definitely have to earn every vote as much of his value on the defensive end of the floor can be difficult to quantify. His case rests now with five all-star games, one third team All-NBA selection (2011) and one second team All-Defensive selection (2018). Horford will give Maravich a run for his money as the best third overall selection in Hawks’ history if his body holds up for another handful of seasons.
Center - Kevin Willis
Round 1, Pick 11, 1984
With over 17,000 career points, Willis was a lock for this spot. His best seasons were in the early 1990’s as a scoring power forward with Atlanta. He is the all-time franchise rebounds leader since the move to Atlanta and ranks seventh in cumulative franchise history with over 10,000 points as a Hawk. About mid-way through his career he made the natural move to the center position. Willis played an NBA record 21 seasons (tied with Kevin Garnett and Robert Parrish), with an all-star selection (Atlanta, 1992) and a championship (San Antonio, 2003) to boast on the mantle.
Head Coach - Paul Silas
Round 2, Pick 10, 1964
Silas spent the first five seasons of his playing career with the Hawks organization, but only the last one was in Atlanta. Silas accumulated over 10,000 points and rebounds, the career double-double, so to speak. He also won three NBA championships, two with the Boston Celtics (1974, 1976), one with the Seattle SuperSonics (1979). He made two all-star games (1972, 1975), earned first team all-defense twice (1975, 1976) and second team defense three times (1971-1973). He spent every single year of his life between 1980 and 1999 as an assistant coach, before finally becoming a head coach with the Charlotte Hornets after the 1998-1999 season. Silas went on to be head coach with two other franchises, including the Cleveland Cavaliers for the first two seasons of LeBron James’ career. Silas last coached the Charlotte Bobcats in 2012.
Jeff Teague, guard (round 1, pick 19, 2009)
Teague was an integral piece of several Hawks’ playoff teams during his Atlanta tenure. He was one of four Atlanta NBA All-Star selections in 2015. He ranks fifth in franchise history in assists and seventh in steals.
Josh Smith, forward (round 1, pick 17, 2004)
Smith’s stay in Atlanta was interesting to say the least. The high-flying, erratic forward was really capable of doing anything on the floor, good or bad. Smith is second in franchise history in blocked shots and fifth in steals.
Boris Diaw, forward (round 1, pick 21, 2003)
Diaw was traded to Phoenix for Hawk legend Joe Johnson after just two promising seasons in Atlanta. Diaw was a respected basketball mind around the league and won a championship with the Spurs in 2014.
Stacey Augmon, forward (round 1, pick 9, 1991)
Augmon is tenth in franchise history in steals despite only five seasons with the team.
Doc Rivers, guard (round 2, pick 31, 1983)
The current Clippers head coach still ranks first in franchise history in assists and third in steals. Rivers was a big part of the Hawks’ success during Dominique Wilkins’ prime.
Tree Rollins, center (round 1, pick 14, 1977)
Rollins ranks first in franchise history in blocks and third in field goal percentage.
Eddie Johnson, forward (round 3, pick 49, 1977)
Johnson ranks third in franchise history in assists and sixth in steals.
John Drew, forward (round 2, pick 25, 1974)
Drew ranks fifth all-time on the Hawks scoring list, averaging over 21 points a game with the franchise.
All stats and information compiled from basketball-reference.com.