The Atlanta Hawks over the years have had a bunch of talent on the wing, a few good point guards and a revolving door of big men. The Hawks have just enough talent in their starting five to keep up with the some of the more elite programs in the NBA’s storied history.
At the five Spot
Dikembe Mutombo: One of the greatest defensive centers the NBA has ever seen. Anything that he gave you on the offensive end was extra. He manned the middle for the Hawks over five seasons. Many of which were the prime years of his career. He was an extraordinary shot blocker and rebounder and he beats out Tree Rollins as the best Center in the History of the Atlanta Hawks Franchise.
Bob Petit: Statistically Bob Pettit is one of the top 3-5 power forwards of all time. In a league that contained Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell. The St. Louis Hawks maintained the relevancy on the shoulders of the great Bob Pettit. That’s enough to warrant him the 4 spot over the fan favorite Kevin Willis. Pettit posted seasons of 26 points and 16 rebounds and 29 points and 16 rebounds per game. Statistics topped only by Wilt Chamberlain at the time.
Dominique Wilkins: The Human Highlight Film, from his classic battles with Michael Jordan to his blood bath with Larry Bird in the playoffs, Dominique Wilkins had very few peers, offensively and athletically. His name is left out of many conversations about all time great players among fans, but his peers never forget to mention him in their conversations. He is by far the greatest player in Atlanta Hawks history and I see no signs of him relinquishing that spot.
Joe Johnson: Joe Johnson and his bloated contract were held to standards higher than usual. Now that he is out of town his skill-set may finally be acknowledged by the Atlanta Hawks fan base. The smooth operator, and versatile defender led the Hawks to the playoffs year after year following their long stint of mediocrity. Many Hawks fans may be glad to see his contract come off the books, but they won’t be happy at all that his production is gone.
Glen “Doc” Rivers: Doc the man patrolling the sidelines for the Boston Celtics, and habitually sending the Hawks fishing, was once their point guard, a damn good one. He was a tenacious defender and a good distributor, much like the point guard he currently coaches (though a much better shooter), Rajon Rondo. He is the all-time leader in assists for the Hawks, and the best point guard the team has ever seen. At 6’4 he stood above many point guards during his tenure and he does the same among the Atlanta Hawks point guards throughout the teams history.
A starting five with 2 Hall of Fame players, Dominique and Pettit, 2 guys well on their way Doc Rivers and Mutombo, and one continuing to pad his already hefty resume in a new uniform, just as they have always done the Hawks could compete with anyone.