Top 50 Atlanta Hawks

You would think that there would be a more rich history for the Atlanta Hawks, but other than a championship in a previous city (St, Louis), the post season success for the Hawks has not been an illustrious one, though it has been a long one.

Formed in 1946 as the Tri-Cities Blackhawks in the National Basketball League, the Hawks would join the NBA in 1949 as part of the two leagues merger.  The team would relocate to Milwaukee in 1951, dropping the “Black” from the name and simply became the “Hawks”.  The stay in Milwaukee would only pan out for four years as the team would again relocate, this time to St. Louis, which is where they would have their greatest success. 

Led by Bob Pettit, The St. Louis Hawks would go to the NBA Finals (1957, 1958, 1960 & 1961) and would win one of those (’58).  To date, this is the only championship that the Hawks have won, and by far the best period of the organization’s existence.

With an inability to secure a decent arena, the Hawks moved to Atlanta in 1965, which has been their home since.  They have also not been to the NBA Finals since their move to the Peach State. 

They have had some excellent players in Atlanta (Dominique Wilkins of course) but they currently hold the second longest stretch (behind the Sacramento Kings) for not winning a championship.

This list is up to the end of the 2015/16 season.

Note: Basketball lists are based on an amalgamation of tenure, traditional statistics, advanced statistics, playoff statistics and post-season accolades.
Bob Pettit played 11 seasons in the NBA, all with the Hawks, and all with a trip to the All Star Game. Pretty impressive isn’t it?
Seriously, if this was specifically just for the accomplishments of the Hawks while in Atlanta, Dominique would have been a lock for the number one slot…though is being behind Bob Pettit an insult in any capacity?
Cliff Hagan entered the NBA later than he would have liked as the former NCAA Champion with Kentucky served in the military for a few years, however he would quickly make up for lost time.
While John Drew might be best known in the NBA for being the first recipient of a lifetime drug ban, many Hawks fans would prefer to remember him for his on the court talent as opposed to his off the court problems.
The owner of one of the sweetest jump shots of all time (hence the nickname of “Sweet Lou”), Lou Hudson went to six straight All Star Games, coincidentally the first six seasons the team relocated to Atlanta.  Hudson would score over 20 Points per Game seven times, four of which would be higher than 25 Points.  While the Hawks never really went that deep into the playoffs while he was there, must of the success…
Far from a one-dimensional Center, Al Horford was the third overall draft pick in 2007 and paid early dividends for the Atlanta Hawks.  A runner-up for Rookie of the Year honors, Horford had two back-to-back All Star runs (2010-11 & 2015-16) and never had a season where he fell below 10 Points per Game.  Horford would also post seasons with a PER above 20.
Mookie Blaylock was one of the best defensive Point Guards of all time.  Blaylock was an Atlanta Hawk for seven years, which was the best part of his career.  While in Atlanta, Blaylock would win the Steals Title twice and would six times make an All-Defensive Team.  Offensively, Blaylock would never fall below 13 Points per Game as a Hawk.  
Known for his strong defensive game, “Mr Rounds” Dan Roundfield brought a ton of “power” to the Power Forward position.  Roundfield came to Atlanta after a three year run in Indiana and would reward the Hawks faithful five Defensive Team Selections and three straight All Star appearances.  In all but his final season with Atlanta he averaged a season double double, however the one that he missed was because averaged a mere 9.9 Rebounds per…
Foregoing college for the NBA Draft, Josh Smith brought instant excitement to the Atlanta Hawks.  He first garnered national attention as the winner of the 2005 Slam Dunk Contest as a rookie but the expert dunker proved to be a true savant as a blocker.  Notably the youngest player to get to 500 Blocks, Smith would finish in the top five in Blocks four times while posting seven seasons scoring over 15 Points per Game.  
While Doc Rivers is far better known these days for his coaching work (he is a former Coach of the Year with an NBA Ring in Boston) there are many in the state of Georgia who will always remember him for his sweet passes to Dominique Wilkins.
With a name like “Tree” Rollins you expect that the man would be tall right?  Yes, you would be right.
One of the more physically imposing players of his day, Zelmos Beaty arrived as the third overall draft pick coming out of Prairie View A&M.  Beaty would use his size to average over 10 Rebounds per Game in six of his seven Atlanta seasons, and was also an adept scorer exceeding over 20 Points per Game three times.  He would represent the Hawks in the All Star Game twice.
An All Star for six of seven seasons as an Atlanta Hawk, Joe Johnson was the main star of the organization.  Signing on as a Free Agent, Johnson strung together five consecutive seasons scoring over 20 Points per Game with his sweet shooters touch.  While he was not able to take Atlanta deep into the playoffs, he did lead them there multiple times.  At one time, Johnson was the highest paid player n the NBA…
Lenny Wilkens was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame three times: as a player, as a coach and with the 1992 United States Olympic Dream Team. 
Kevin Willis played a long time in the NBA.  I mean a really long time!  A veteran of the National Basketball Association for over twenty seasons, Willis played the first half (and his best half) with the Atlanta Hawks.  An All Star in 1992, Wilis had four seasons where he averaged a double-double and was named a co-captain of the team.  Willis would be known for his incredible rebounding skill. 
Although Bill Bridges was considered undersized for his position (he was only 6’ 6’) he was a tenacious rebounder, especially during his time with the Hawks.  With the exception of his first two seasons, the former Kansas Jayhawk would average a double double, finishing in the top eight in Rebounds per Game six times as a Hawk.  The three time All Star would also be chosen for two Second Team Defensive squads.
With the distinction of being the first player in history to win an Olympic Gold Medal, NCAA Championship and an NBA Championship, Clyde Lovellette certainly brought a winning attitude to the St. Louis Hawks.  Lovellette may not have won a title in St. Louis but the big man’s versatility and scoring touch were certainly welcome to the Hawks.  Only with St. Louis for four seasons, Lovellette would average over 20 Points per Game in three…
There were few players more exciting to watch in Atlanta than Eddie Johnson.  Johnson worked his way from a low draft pick to a two time All Star and his slashing style made him a fan favorite not only in Atlanta but also throughout the NBA fan base.  Not only was he a good shooter, he used his speed to on the defensive side of the ball, as shown by his two selections to the…
An All Star in 1998, Steve Smith was highly regarded for his excellent shooting skill, especially from behind the arc.  Smith would post two consecutive seasons with Atlanta where he averaged 20.1 Points per Game.  For a large part of his Atlanta tenure, Smith was regarded as the primary option for the team, and while he could not lead Atlanta deep into the playoffs, he always brought them there. 
The answer to the trivia question (who was the first overall draft pick in the 1950’s), Chuck Share would be traded from Fort Wayne to the Milwaukee Hawks, which would later be moved to St. Louis.  Share, a rough player who was adept in collecting Personal Fouls would have three seasons where he scored 15 Points per Game, but most notably was the captain for the Hawks Championship win in 1958.