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Top Ten Atlanta Hawks of All-Time

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We’ve hit the dog days of the NBA summer.  All the big name free agents have been snatched up.  Summer league is over.  Training camps are still months away.  So, now is the perfect time to reminisce a bit.  The Hoops Manifesto has gathered together a stellar collection of Bloguin basketball writers to determine the top ten players all-time for each of the 30 NBA franchises.  First up: the Atlanta Hawks (nee Tri-Cities Blackhawks, Milwaukee Hawks and St. Louis Hawks).

Voting panel: Jeff Fox from The Hoops Manifesto College Wolf from the TWolves Blog, Mookie from A Stern Warning, Don from With Malice, Matt Satten from Barkley’s Mouth, Joe from Tetreault Vision, Philip from Orlando Magic Daily, Ed Isaacson from NBA Draft Blog, WhiskeyDizzy from The Real Shaq, LIVES from Knicks Fanatics and Diego from Leaving It All On The Court.

10) Tree Rollins – Atlanta Hawks – 1977-1988

Hawks accomplishments:

- eighth all-time in NBA blocks
- Hawks all-time career blocks leader
- two-time All-Defensive Team selection

“His parents must have known he was going to be a NBA shotblocker when they named him ‘Tree’.  Huh – what do you mean, his real name is ‘Wayne’?!” – Jeff Fox

“A fine center at the tail end of his Hawks career when the team started to get good.” – Joe

“The big man who went out there night in and night out and did his job.  Not great stats, but the kind of guy you wanted on the floor for you.” – Ed Isaacson

9) Dikembe Mutombo – Atlanta Hawks – 1996-2001

Hawks accomplishments:

- four-time All-Star
- 3 Defensive Player of the Year awards
- four-time All-Defensive Team selection
- two-time All-NBA selection

“One of the finest defensive players we are going to see in our lifetime, and the best Hawks defender of all-time” – Jeff Fox

“Mutombo owned the paint in Atlanta and blossomed into a four-time All-Star with the Hawks. His trade from Atlanta to Philadelphia in 2001 arguably put the 76ers over the top and into the Finals (sorry Hawks fans).” – Philip

8) Mookie Blaylock – Atlanta Hawks – 1992-1999

Hawks accomplishments:

- fourth all-time in NBA steals per game
- Hawks all-time career three-pointers made leader
- Hawks all-time career steals leader
- one-time All-Star
- six-time All-Defensive Team selection

“One of the top defenders of his era, Mookie twice led the league in steals per game, thieved his way to  11 top-10 spg seasons, and is ranked fourth in NBA history with 2.33 spg. More importantly, Mookie Blaylock was the original band name of Pearl Jam and their debut album is named Ten in honor of his jersey number. True story.” – Matt Satten

“It’s remarkable how many Hawks statistics that Mookie features in. The point guard that inspired Pearl Jam was a handy all-rounder.” – Mookie

7) Kevin Willis – Atlanta Hawks – 1984-1994, 2004

Hawks accomplishments:

- fifth all-time in NBA games played
- seventh all-time in NBA offensive rebounds
- Hawks all-time career offensive rebounds leader
- Hawks all-time career defensive rebounds leader
- one-time All-Star
- one All-NBA selection

“With little arms like a T-Rex, he gobbled up every rebound in sight. The perfect bodyguard to ‘Nique, the year the pair looked like (they were) getting over the hump saw ‘Nique dealt for Danny Manning.” – Mookie

“The man who did the dirty work for Dominique during the 80′s Hawks teams, Willis was a prolific rebounder who could score when needed to (1991-1995 averaged a double-double).” – Ed Isaacson

6) Pete Maravich – Atlanta Hawks – 1970-1974

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Hawks accomplishments:

- NBA Hall of Fame member
- two-time All-Star
- All-Rookie Team
- one-time All-NBA selection

“Pistol Pete got his start in Atlanta wearing those lovely lime green jerseys. In Atlanta he continued racking up stats the same as he did in college at LSU. OK, maybe at not such a prolific rate. But when you are the face of rocking those sweet lime green jerseys, you can be forgiven for not averaging more than 40 points per game.” – Philip

“Pistol Pete spent his first four seasons with Atlanta, helping raise the popularity of the Hawks. He also gave the people reason to spend their money; three of those four seasons, he averaged at least 23 points per game.” – Diego Quezada

5) Cliff Hagan – St. Louis Hawks – 1956-1966

Hawks accomplishments:

- NBA Hall of Fame member
- 1958 NBA Champion
- five-time All-Star
- two-time All-NBA selection

“He’s got a ring and was a dominant player in his era despite spending two years in the air force before his rookie season.” – Matt Satten

“The other star with Petit on the dominant Hawks teams of the late 1950′s, Hagan was a great scorer and defender in his own right.” Ed Isaacson

“A scoring threat who averaged at least 20 points from ’58 – ’62. He was a big part of the Hawks during its best run as a franchise, the late ’50s and early ’60s.” – Diego Quezada

4) Lenny Wilkens – St. Louis Hawks – 1960-1968

Hawks accomplishments:

- five-time All-Star

“Lenny Wilkens was the 2nd most prolific assists-getter at the time he retired (only behind Oscar Robertson).  He is the only person inducted into the Hall of Fame both as a player and as a coach.” – Don

“Known to this era as one of the winningest (and losingest — these “words” are actually correct jargon, right?) coaches to ever pace the sideline, Wilkens was a top-notch PG for a decade, leading the L in assists on two occasions.” – Matt Satten

3) Lou Hudson – St. Louis/Atlanta Hawks – 1966-1977

Hawks accomplishments:

- six-time All-Star
- All-Rookie Team
- one-time All-NBA selection

“Came in as a rookie and averaged 18 points per game and helped the team win a division title. He helped bridge the team from its move to Atlanta with his scoring averages.” – Diego Quezada

2) Dominique Wilkins – Atlanta Hawks – 1982-1994

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Hawks accomplishments:

- NBA Hall of Fame member
- tenth in NBA all-time scoring
- tenth in NBA all-time field goals made
- Hawks all-time career leader in: games, minutes, field goals made and points
- nine-time All-Star
- All-Rookie Team
- seven-time All-NBA selection

“Rightly or wrongly, ‘Nique’s career seems to be disregarded as nothing more than highlight reel dunks, which really does a disservice to a fantastic player.  Just look at those accomplishments above – that is not the resume of a one-trick pony.” - Jeff Fox

“The Human Highlight Film, had he entered the league in a non-MJ era, may be viewed very differently today.” - Mookie

“Perhaps Atlanta’s most famous player, he would have been perfect for the YouTube era (still might be actually).” – Philip

1) Bob Pettit – Milwaukee Hawks – 1954-1965

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Hawks accomplishments:

- NBA Hall of Fame member
- 1958 NBA Champion
- seventh all-time in NBA scoring average
- third all-time in NBA rebounding average
- Hawks all-time rebounding leader
- 11-time All-Star
- Rookie of the Year
- two-time MVP
- 11-time All-NBA selection

“One of the best players to ever lace up sneakers and hit the hardwood, Bob Pettit is also one of the NBA’s most underrated legends.  In addition to the accomplishments listed up above, check out his averages for the 1960/61 season – 27.9 ppg and 20.3 rpg.” – Jeff Fox

 “A big time stud, and is largely unknown to most casual NBA fans.” – College Wolf

 “Obvs… All 11 years the Hawks lifer played, he was first team All-NBA except his last year when he really fell off and was only second team All-NBA.” – Mark Satten

“Very few people can claim to have defeated Bill Russell’s Celtics. Pettit did it once, and nearly did it twice as Boston needed seven games to top the St. Louis Hawks in 1957.  Pettit bridged the gap between George Mikan’s revolution of the center position to Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain’s pure dominance.” – Philip

Next up: Boston Celtics

About Jeff Fox

Jeff Fox is Mr. Manifesto - the Supreme Leader and evil mind behind The Hoops Manifesto & The MMA Manifesto

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