As an Atlanta Hawks fan, my hometown team has had their share of productive centers. Even though the Hawks did not have a Shaquille O’Neal, David Robinson or Dwight Howard, our centers had gotten the job done most of the time and provided a fair amount of impact and success.
The following is a list of the all-time centers of the Atlanta Hawks:
1. Dikembe Motombo: Motombo coming to Atlanta was one of the biggest free-agent acquisitions in team history. Motombo’s defensive presence helped the Hawks rebound figuratively and literally. The Hawks had struggled to a 42-40 record in the 1994-95 season. Motombo was rather durable during his career, especially during his tenure in Atlanta. Motombo’s dependable presence always gave the Hawks a chance to win most games.
In Atlanta, he had won the Defensive Player of the Year twice in 1997 and 1998–Dikembe had won four overall. The former start at Georgetown had become known for his waggling of his finger whenever he block a shot and that added to the mystique and notoriety of Motombo has the franchise’s all-time center.
2. Tree Rollins: Before Motombo, the Hawks had another center who was the anchor of Atlanta’s defense for a decade and had accumulated an impressive resume that solidified his status as a dependable player who had a defensive presence anytime he has stepped on the floor.
In the 1982-83 season, Tree had averaged 4.3 blocks a game and the following season, 83-84, Rollins had averaged 3.6 blocks per game.
Even though he wasn’t a big scorer, his blocks helped to ignite fast break points on countless occasions. Rollins was chosen as the 14th pick in th e first round of the 1977 NBA Draft.
Rollins stayed in Atlanta for a decade until 1988, but his NBA career as a player lasted until 1995. 3. Jon Koncak: Koncak was the fifth overall pick of the 1985 NBA Draft. Koncak had been the backup center for most of his Atlanta career despite signing an extension that made him one of the higher paid players in the NBA for a short period of time. The contract never matched the production, but he stayed in Atlanta until 1995.
4. Andrew Lang: Lang was one of the more underrated centers in the 1990’s and had come to Atlanta when Lenny Wilkens became coach in the 1993-94 season. Lang was the main starter at center despite Jon Koncak and his contract still on the team.
Lang wasn’t as athletic as Motombo, but he was a rather effective shot blocker. Lang stayed in Atlanta for three years and had preceded the free agent signing of Dikembe Motombo in 1996.
5. Al Horford: Horford’s career is still young, but he has had an impact playing the position of center, despite power forward being his best position. Horford was selected third overall in the 2007 NBA draft.
As a center, he has been selected as a two-time All Star. Horford had the most double-doubles of any rookie in the 2007 season. Horford has been a part of four consecutive playoff seasons as of the 2010-11 season.