The Atlanta Hawks have had an interesting decade to say the least. At the beginning of the 2010s they were competing with LeBron James for Eastern Conference supremacy. At the end of the decade, they are competing with the bottom feeders for a number one pick. From Eastern Conference Champions to a young rebuilding team, the Hawks have had their fair share of stars in Atlanta. Regardless, it is time to talk about the Atlanta Hawks All-Decade Team.
Atlanta Hawks All-Decade Team
Recapping the 2010s
The Hawks have had four different coaches in the last ten years. Starting with Mike Woodson at the tail end of 2010 and continuing with Larry Drew, the Hawks enjoyed a three year streak of reaching the second round in the playoffs. They were a perennial playoff team and were competitive enough to cause problems, but never enough to make real noise in the postseason.
In 2013, the Hawks decided to turn to Mike Budenholzer to solve their problems. Budenholzer went 38-44 in his first year, which was the first time the Hawks were below .500 in seven years, but that would be the only low point of his tenure.
In 2014-15, the Hawks went 60-22 and finished as the number one seed in the East. They handled the Brooklyn Nets and Washington Wizards in six games until they met their nemesis, LeBron James. As is the case with most teams, James controls who will be successful in the East. The Cavaliers and James swept the Hawks.
Atlanta followed up that great season with a solid 48-34 record, but were once again swept by James and the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference semifinals. This season would signal the end of the Atlanta Hawks success, for the most part.
Al Horford and Jeff Teague would play in other uniforms starting in 2016-17. The Hawks would sneak out a playoff berth, thanks to Paul Millsap, but would not be super competitive. The following season, they lost Millsap and most of their contributors, leading to an abysmal 24-58 finish. Mike Budenholzer would leave for Milwaukee the next season and nothing would be the same.
General Manager Travis Schlenk has taken the task of the dreaded, but necessary rebuild for Atlanta. They had some success, but could not get over the top, so they started from scratch. With several high draft picks that seem to be on a successful path, Schlenk has done well, but the wins have yet to come.
Atlanta Hawks All-Decade Team Starting Five
Guard – Jeff Teague
Jeff Teague, from Wake Forest, was drafted by the Hawks in 2009 with the 19thpick. Teague stayed with the team until 2015-16. During his first tenure, Teague was a steady presence in the Hawks rotation and developed into one of the better guards in the Eastern Conference. Eventually, Teague was named an All-Star in 2014-15. Teague averaged 11.9 points and 5.1 assists per game with Atlanta.
He is a crafty guard that frequently found himself in the paint picking apart defenses. With Teague, the Hawks made the high ball screen a staple of their offense. He would quick out to shooters or work a two-man game with Millsap and Horford.
The Hawks would not have had the success they did in the early 2010s without Teague. He was a key cog in the wheel of the deep playoff runs and success.
Teague returned to Atlanta this season as the backup point guard. He did not have a great season, but the Hawks will most likely attempt to keep him beyond this season.
Guard – Joe Johnson
Joe Johnson was an absolute stud while in Atlanta. Johnson was drafted by the Boston Celtics in 2001 out of Arkansas. He would eventually wind up in Atlanta after a sign and trade with the Phoenix Suns in 2005. Ultimately, Johnson stuck with the Hawks until 2012 when he moved onto the Brooklyn Nets.
Johnson averaged 20.1 points, 4.5 assists, and 4.2 rebounds per game in his three seasons with the team this decade. Formally known as “Iso Joe,” Johnson became one of the best scorers in the Eastern Conference quickly.
Outside of his incredible isolation skills, Johnson is probably most known for his clutch buckets. Johnson hit his fair share of game-winners with Atlanta, as he did in all other stops.
Joe Johnson made the All-Star team six straight years, including the last three years he was in Atlanta this decade. He was also named to the All-NBA team in 2009-10.
Forward – Josh Smith
Josh Smith earns the starting honors here because of his long tenure with Atlanta, and his All-NBA honors. Smith was drafted 17thoverall by the Hawks in 2004 and stayed with the team until 2013.
Smith is really a big man with guard skills. He is great with the ball in his hands and consistently a matchup nightmare for other teams. He averaged 17.5 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 3.7 assists this decade with Atlanta. Every year, he was one of the best players on the Hawks roster and has more than earned this spot.
He was also named to the All-Defensive team in 2010. Smith left before the Hawks reached their peak, but he definitely helped start the train in motion.
Forward – Paul Millsap
Paul Millsap is one of the best players in Hawks history. Millsap was drafted 47thoverall by the Utah Jazz in 2006. He spent seven seasons in Utah before leaving for Atlanta. There is no doubt that Millsap’s best seasons were with the Hawks.
Millsap averaged 17.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 3.3 assists and formed a great pair with Al Horford. Millsap and Horford were perfect bigs for the Mike Budenholzer system that thrives with forwards that can shoot.
All four seasons that Millsap wore Hawks colors, he was voted an All-Star. He also earned All-Defensive honors in 2015-16. When the Hawks were successful, Millsap was on the roster. There is no doubt he played a major role in getting the Hawks to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Center – Al Horford
Al Horford joins Millsap as one of the best players in Hawks history. Horford was the 3rdoverall pick in 2007 from Florida. He became a focal point for the Hawks as soon as he stepped in town. Horford started almost every game for the Hawks and had his best seasons when Atlanta was their best.
Horford averaged 14.3 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 2.3 assists for Atlanta. His two best seasons were 2014-15 and 2015-16 when he averaged 15.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 3.2 assists while leading Atlanta to the playoffs.
Horford is not known as a scorer, but he has an impact throughout the game. It does not matter if the box score is empty, Horford made the Hawks better. He earned four All-Star appearances and an All-NBA nod while playing in Atlanta. For many reasons, Horford will be a fan favorite in Atlanta.
Horford left the Hawks for the Celtics in 2016-17 and that would lead to the demise of the Hawks.
Atlanta Hawks All-Decade Team Bench
Guard – Trae Young
Trae Young has started his NBA career very strong. The reason he slides to the bench in favor of Teague is that he has only played two seasons. Young was drafted fifth overall then traded for Luka Doncic on the famous draft night trade.
Young is averaging 23.6 points, 8.6 assists, and 3.9 rebounds for his career. While he started slowly last season, he has exploded in year two. Young is averaging 29.3 points and 9.3 assists per game while wowing crowds on a nightly basis.
Young needs to continue his play and find ways to elevate his team to turn around the Hawks losing.
Guard – Kyle Korver
Kyle Korver was drafted 51st overall in 2002 as a sharpshooter. He would make his way to Atlanta in 2012-13 where he would play a key role in the offense that was consistently top ten in the league.
Korver played five seasons for the Hawks where he would average 10.9 points per game, but most importantly, shoot 45 percent from three on more than five attempts per game. His ability to stretch the defense made everything work for Teague, Horford, and Millsap.
Forward – DeMarre Carroll
DeMarre Carroll only played two seasons for Atlanta but he transformed their defense. His strength and athleticism at the three spot helped to contain the great wings in the Eastern Conference.
During his time in Atlanta, Carroll averaged 11.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.8 assists. He also shot 38 percent from three on four attempts per game, turning him into a great 3-and-D wing.
Forward – John Collins
John Collins was drafted 19thoverall from Wake Forest during year one of the Hawks rebuild. He was under the radar coming into the NBA but has quickly announced himself as one of the best young players in the league.
Collins is a dominant rebounder with super athleticism and bounce. There are not many players quicker off their feet than Collins.
Collins is averaging 16.2 rebounds and 8.8 rebounds a game so far in his career. He has drastically improved each year and developed a long-range jump shot which makes him even tougher to guard. The Collins Young pick and roll is among the best in the league.
Center – Zaza Pachulia
Zaza Pachulia played his best basketball with Atlanta. He never put up dazzling stats, but his role as enforcer allowed other guys to be successful. As a screener and defender, Pachulia played his role perfectly on a talented Hawks team.
Pachulia averaged 7.3 points and 5.8 rebounds in his lengthy Hawks tenure. It is important for good teams to have solid and trustworthy role players, which is exactly what Pachulia is.
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