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10 Greatest Atlanta Hawks Players Of All Time

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10 Greatest Atlanta Hawks Players Of All Time

Remember the “good ole days” of the Atlanta Hawks. For the younger generation that pays attention to the NBA, the Hawks have been an inconsistent franchise. In their heyday, the Hawks made four NBA Finals appearances and won their only NBA championship. In the 1980s, Dominique Wilkins was one of the greatest players in the league but the team never made the NBA Finals.

In the mid-2000s, Al Horford, Jamal Crawford, and Joe Johnson kept the team relevant. The Hawks nearly made an NBA Finals in 2015 before getting swept by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Right now, their future hangs in the balance of Trae Young and John Collins. Young is already making his move up the rankings after leading the team to the Conference Finals last season.

Each player’s bio includes their tenure with the team, their stats exclusively with the franchise, and awards earned while playing for the Hawks. These stats and awards do not cover their entire career, only their time with the Hawks. 

Honorable Mention

Al Horford

Al Horford Hawks

Years in Atlanta: 9 seasons (2007-2016)

Atlanta: 14.3 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 3.3 APG, 0.8 SPG, 1.2 BPG

Career: 13.9 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 3.3 APG, 0.8 SPG, 1.2 BPG 

Honors: 5x All-Star, All-NBA Third-Team (2011), All-NBA All-Defensive Second Team (2018), All-NBA Rookie First Team (2008)

When Horford left the franchise, he ranked sixth all-time in blocks (697) and eighth all-time in rebounds (5,144), and made the top-10 in field goals. Many believed that Horford would never leave the Hawks after spending nine seasons with the team. During that time, he was one of the most consistent players the Hawks ever had. 

When Horford made the All-Star team his first two times, he finished the season accounting for 10.9 and 10.1 win shares. Throughout nine seasons, he totaled over 64 win shares, which accounts for nearly seven per season. Horford was also used very often in the offense, averaging over 20% usage. Off the floor, he is a leader and a vocal member of any locker room. 

10. Trae Young

Trae Young On Not Receiving Many Foul Calls: I Know How To Score Without Shooting Free Throws, But At The Same Time I Know I’m Getting Fouled A Lot More Than I’m”

Years in Atlanta: 4 (2018-Present)

Atlanta: 24.1 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 8.9 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.2 BPG

Career: 24.1 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 8.9 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.2 BPG

Honors: 1x All-Star (2020), NBA All-Rookie First Team (2019)

After making his first All-Star team in 2020, Young was poised for a big season. The day before Christmas Eve, Young displayed a masterful showing with a 32-point, 10-assist game against the Knicks, which was capped with a game-winning floater with 0.9 seconds. It was magic like that where the Hawks rid the wave of Cinderella all the way to the Conference Finals last year, which included winning their first Conference Finals game since the team moved to Atlanta in 1968-1969.

Young inspired a 26-point comeback against the 76ers in Game 5 of the semifinals before ending the No. 1 seed’s season in Game 7 with 21 points. Young was snubbed from the All-Star team this season and showed teams why in the Conference Finals. That included a playoff career-high 48 points in a 116-113 win in Game 1. Young had to miss Games 4 and 5 due to a bone bruise, so who knows how the season would have ended if he stayed healthy. Thanks to his efforts, he became the richest man in franchise history with a five-year, max extension worth up to $172 million, and possibly $207 million.

9. Lenny Wilkens

Lenny Wilkens

Years in St. Louis: 8 seasons (1960-1968)

St. Louis/Atlanta: 15.5 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 5.5 APG, steals and blocks were not recorded

Career: 16.5 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 6.7 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.2 BPG

Honors: 9x All-Star, NBA All-Star Game MVP (1971), NBA Assists Leader (1970), NBA 50th Anniversary All-Time Team, Hall of Fame

Wilkens is just one of seven players in Hawks history to ever record three or more triple-doubles. Wilkens played during the 1960s when the team was based in St. Louis. When he left the team, he was the franchise leader in assists, but he now ranks fourth all-time (3,049). On top of that, Wilkens ranks sixth all-time in made free throws. 

On the court, he was a pure floor general. In his final season, he averaged 8.3 assists per game. His steals would have likely been up to if the stat was counted for all but two seasons with the team. When Wilkens left for the Seattle Supersonics, he eventually was the NBA leader in assists. He will always be remembered as one of the best guards Atlanta has ever seen. 

8. Pete Maravich

Pete Maravich

Years in Atlanta: 5 seasons (1970-1974)

Atlanta: 24.3 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 5.6 APG, 1.5 SPG, 0.3 BPG

Career: 24.2 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 5.4 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.2 BPG

Honors: 2x All-NBA First Team (1976, 1977), All-NBA Second Team (1973), NBA All-Rookie Team (1971), 5x All-Star, NBA Scoring Champion (1977), No. 44 retired by Hawks, NBA 50th Anniversary All-Time Team, Hall of Fame

The Hawks used the No. 3 overall picks on Maravich after he led the NCAA in scoring three straight seasons. He remains the NCAA's all-time leading scorer. In his first season, Maravich averaged 23.2 points per game. As a point guard, his ability to distribute the ball was even better, finishing with over 6.0 assists in two of his four seasons. 

After he left the Hawks, he led the league in scoring and made the All-Star team three more times. Even though Maravich never finished in the top-10 in any major statistical category, his greatness lives on. If he would have stayed, he would have been the best point guard in franchise history. His No. 7 hangs from the rafters today. 

7. Joe Johnson

Joe Johnson

Years in Atlanta: 7 seasons (2005-2012)

Atlanta: 20.9 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 5.2 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.2 BPG

Career: 16.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 3.0 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.2 BPG

Honors: All-NBA Third Team (2010), 7x All-Star, NBA All-Rookie Second Team (2002)

Needed someone to get you an automatic bucket? Joe Johnson was your man. In a long 17-year career, Johnson’s peak was when he played for the Hawks. Six of his seven seasons featured Johnson in the All-Star Game. His best season came in 2006-2007 when he averaged 25.0 points and added 5.8 assists. 

People forget that Johnson was a solid distributor. Johnson was used 26% of the time in the Hawks’ offense and had a turnover rate of less than 11%. He was averaged 29% on assisted plays and left his Hawks career assisting on 24% of their total offense. Johnson might have seen his jersey in the rafters if he stayed for 10 seasons. Johnson is sixth all-time in points and assists in franchise history. 

6. Dan Roundfield

Dan Roundfield

Years in Atlanta: 6 seasons (1978-1984)

Atlanta: 17.6 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 2.4 APG, 1.0 SPG, 1.4 BPG

Career: 15.2 PPG, 11.5 RPG, 2.2 APG, 0.9 SPG, 1.5 BPG

Honors: All-NBA Second Team (1980), 3x All-Defensive First Team (1980, 1982, 1983), 2x All-NBA Defensive Second Team (1981, 1984), 3x All-Star

Roundfield was one of the greatest defensive players in team history. He ranks 10th all-time in rebounds (4,658), and fifth all-time in blocks (716). During his tenure with the Hawks, five of his six seasons landed him on the all-defensive team. The Hawks were the only franchise that he averaged a true double-double. 

Due to his reputation as a strong rebounder and tenacious defender, he was nicknamed Dr. Rounds. He nearly won the 1980 All-Star Game MVP after he scored 18 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in 27 minutes off the bench. Roundfield perished early after helping save his wife from drowning. 

5. Lou Hudson

Lou Hudson

Years in St. Louis: 11 seasons (1966-1977)

St. Louis: 22.0 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.3 BPG

Career: 20.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.3 BPG

Honors: All-NBA Second Team (1970), All-Rookie First Team (1967), 6x All-Star, No. 23 retired by Hawks

Hudson ranks third in franchise history with 16,049 points and field goals (6,570). Among other accolades, Hudson ranks third all-time in two-point field goals, fifth in free throws, and sixth in games played. Hudson averaged a career-high 27.1 points with 6.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists during the 1972-1973 season. When he played alongside Pete Maravich, the two were the second set of teammates in NBA history to score over 2,000 points in a single season. They joined Elgin Baylor and Jerry West, who accomplished that feat with the Lakers in 1965. 

For seven straight seasons, Hudson averaged over 20 points per game. That included shooting 48.7% from the field. Not only was he able to score in high volume, but he was efficient too. 

4. Cliff Hagan

ST. LOUIS - 1960:  Cliff Hagan of the St. Louis Hawks poses for an action portrait during the 1960 season in St. Louis, Missouri.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement  Mandatory Copyright Notice:  Copyright 1960 NBAE  (Photo by NBAE Photos/NBAE/Getty Images)

Photo by NBAE Photos/NBAE/Getty Images

Years in St. Louis: 10 seasons (1956-1965) - spent entire NBA career with Hawks

Player/Career Stats: 18.0 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 3.2 APG, steals and blocks were not recorded

Honors: NBA Champion (1958), 2x All-NBA Second Team (1958, 1959), 5x All-Star, Hall of Fame

Hagan ranks fourth all-time in points scored (13,447) and was a part of the only NBA championship in franchise history. When the Hawks were based in St. Louis, Hagan was a core piece of their championship run. Hagan served in the military for two years after being drafted, where he was stationed at Andrews Air Force Base and won the Worldwise Air Force basketball championship. After his military service, he was drafted to St. Louis for Bill Russell. 

Hagan was named to five consecutive All-Star games. Hagan ranks in the top-10 for rebounds and assists. Hagan is one of three Hawks players to finish with five or more triple-doubles. Hagan was also a great person, rumored to have welcomed African American teammates like Lenny Wilkens to the team without prejudice. 

3. Dikembe Mutombo

Dikembe Mutombo

Years in Atlanta: 5 seasons (1996-2001)

Atlanta: 11.9 PPG, 12.6 RPG, 1.6 APG, 0.6 SPG, 3.8 BPG

Career: 9.8 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 1.0 APG, 0.4 SPG, 2.8 BPG

Honors: All-NBA Second Team (2001), 2x All-NBA Third Team (1998, 2002), 8x All-Star, 4x Defensive Player of the Year (1995, 1997, 1998, 2001), 3x All-NBA Defensive First Team, 3x All-NBA Defensive Second Team (1995, 1999, 2002), 2x NBA Rebounding Leader (2000, 2001), 3x NBA Blocks Leader (1994-1996), NBA All-Rookie First Team (1992), No. 55 retired by Hawks, Hall of Fame

It might have been a short tenure with the Hawks, but Mutombo made it count. After the 1995-1996 season, Mutombo signed a five-year, $55 million contract with the team. Along with All-Star Steve Smith, the duo led the Hawks to back-to-back 50+ win seasons. Mutombo won Defensive Player of the year in both seasons but the team couldn’t get past Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the playoffs. 

Known for his finger wag after a block, he was banned from using the finger wag during the 1998-1999 season. However, nobody could stop in on the boards. He averaged a league-high 14.1 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per game. Mutombo ranks third all-time with 1,094 blocks, making him just one of three players to have over 1,000 blocks in franchise history. 

2. Dominique Wilkins

Dominique Wilkins

Years in Atlanta: 12 seasons (1982-1994)

Atlanta: 26.4 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.7 BPG

Career: 24.8 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.6 BPG

Honors: All-NBA First Team (1986), 4x All-NBA Second Team (1987, 1988, 1991, 1993), 2x All-NBA Third Team (1989, 1994), 9x All-Star, All-Rookie First Team (1983, NBA Scoring Champion (1986), 2x NBA Slam Dunk Contest Champion (1985, 1990), No. 21 retired by Hawks, Hall of Fame

His No. 21 is retired for good reason. An NBA championship would have likely solidified Wilkins winning the title of “greatest Hawk ever.” His 12-year run is one of the best stretches we have ever had. His 30.3 points per game led the league in 1986. He averaged over 25 points for 10 consecutive seasons. His 26,668 career points rank 13th all-time, while his 23,292 points with the Hawks are the franchise leader. Wilkins also ranks fourth in rebounds, eighth in assists, and seventh in blocks all time. He was an all-around standout for Atlanta. 

During the 80s, Atlanta recorded four consecutive 50-win seasons. He was nicknamed “The Human Highlight Film” for the athletic ability that helped him win two Slam Dunk Contests. To think, Wilkins was traded by the Utah Jazz for John Drew, Freeman Williams, and $1 million in cash. It’s one of the most lopsided deals in NBA history. 

1. Bob Pettit

Bob Pettit

Years in Milwaukee/St. Louis: 11 seasons (1954-1965), spent entire NBA career with Hawks

Career: 26.4 PPG, 16.2 RPG, 3.0 APG, steals and blocks were not recorded

Honors: NBA Champion (1958), 2x MVP (1956, 1959), 10x All-NBA First Team (1955-1964), All-NBA Second Team (1965), NBA Rookie of the Year (1955), 11x All-Star, 4x All-Star Game MVP, 2x Scoring Champion (1956, 1959), NBA Rebounding Leader (1956), NBA 50th Anniversary All-Time Team, No. 9 retired by Hawks, Hall of Fame

Pettit was an MVP in his second season after winning the Rookie of the Year. Petit was the all-time leader in scoring until Wilkins broke his record in the 90s. Petit (20,880) and Wilkins are the only Hawks players to score over 20,000 points in their tenure with Atlanta. Pettit ranks in the top-3 in games played, field goals, assists, and triple-doubles. He is the all-time leader in rebounds (12,849) and his 16.2 rebounds per game are one of the best all-time. He also is the franchise leader in free throws made and attempts. 

Pettit led the Hawks to the NBA Finals in 1957 and shocked the Bill Russell-led Boston Celtics in double overtime. The Hawks forced a seven-game series but his 39 points and 19 rebounds in 56 minutes weren’t enough to win the series. The following season, Pettit helped lead the Hawks to a then franchise-record 41 wins. The team met the Celtics in the Finals again. His 50 points in the 110-109 victory in Game 6 helped the St. Louis Hawks clinch the title. For the season, he scored 24.6 points and pulled down 17.4 rebounds. 

Pettit averaged 27.9 points and 20.3 rebounds during the 1960-1961 season. He is believed to be just one of two players to have ever averaged a 20-20 double-double. He is the greatest Hawks to ever wear the uniform. 


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