With the NBA Playoffs nearing their conclusion with the Conference Finals underway, I thought I’d take a look at each of the teams’ all-time starting lineups.
Highlighting the top players in each franchise’s history, the all-time lineup was created using players individual accolades as well as team success during each players’ stint. Beginning with this year’s non-playoff teams and finishing up with this season’s 16 postseason participants, here are the Atlanta Hawks’ all-time starters.
Guard: Mookie Blaylock 1992-99
During a seven-season run in Atlanta, Blaylock became one of the top guards in the league, while helping the Hawks make the playoffs seven-straight times and win the 1994 Central Division title.
During his second season in Atlanta, Blaylock was named an All-Star while being selected to the All-Defensive First Team. He was again named First Team All-Defense in 1995, before making three consecutive All-Defensive Second Teams from 1996-98, leading the league in steals in both the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons.
Guard: Joe Johnson 2005-12
Perhaps the biggest free agent acquisition in team history, Johnson was named an All-Star for the first time in 2007. The following season, he led the Hawks to the playoffs for the first time since 1999, beginning a streak of 10 consecutive postseason appearances for club, five of which included Johnson. Johnson added another five All-Star selections from 2008-12, while also being named to the All-NBA Third Team in 2010.
Forward: Dominique Wilkins 1982-94
The Hawks’ all-time leading scorer, “The Human Highlight Film” dazzled in his 12 years with the team, reaching the playoffs eight times and being named to eight All-Star teams.
The 1986 NBA scoring champion is perhaps most remembered for his two Slam Dunk Contest victories (1985, 1990), but was also recognized as a 1983 All-Rookie Team selection while racking up five All-NBA nods (one First, four Second, one Third), and later becoming a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006, while the Hawks retired his No. 21 jersey in 2001.
Forward: Bob Pettit 1954-65
The most decorated player in team history, Pettit was one of the NBA’s top players while the Hawks were located in St. Louis. In 11 seasons, Pettit made 11 All-Star teams, leading the Hawks to nine playoff trips, four NBA Finals appearances, and the 1958 NBA championship.
A two-time NBA MVP (1956, 1959), Pettit was selected to 11 All-NBA teams (10 First, one Second), was a four-time All-Star Game MVP (1956, 1958-59, 1962), won two scoring titles, and was named the 1953 NBA Rookie of the Year.
Following his storied career, Pettit was named to the NBA’s 25th, 35th, and 50th Anniversary Teams, being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1970, while his No. 9 jersey now hangs in the rafters of State Farm Arena.
Center: Dikembe Mutombo 1996-01
One of the greatest shot blockers in NBA history, Mutombo spent five of his 18 seasons in Atlanta, taking home the Defensive Player of the Year Award three times (1997-98, 2001) while being named to four All-Star teams.
He also was named to two All-NBA teams (second in 2001, third in 1998) and four All-Defensive Teams, while leading the league in rebounding for two consecutive seasons from 1999-01. Also known for his community work, Mutombo was selected as the 2001 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award recipient before being inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015 and having his No. 55 jersey retired by the Hawks.