Developing young point guards has been a very difficult task for the Atlanta Hawks’ organization. Most recently, the team’s first-round draft choice from 2009, Jeff Teague had been chosen as the 10th overall pick.
There was a level of excitement of having a speedy, athletic point guard who can do multiple things on the basketball court. However, Teague sat on the bench for nearly two years.
Prior to Teague was Acie Law, who was chosen as a first-round choice under former coach Mike Woodson. Law played tentatively and subsequently he was pushed out of Atlanta and involved in a trade that brought Jamal Crawford to the Hawks.
Time will tell whether Jeff Teague will become the next franchise point guard and I hope current head coach Larry Drew provides Teague a full opportunity to succeed.
As Hawks fans, we have seen Dwayne Wade, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook and others excel and become All-Star point guards in this past decade.
Mike Bibby did provide stability here in Atlanta, but this organization has to do a better job of developing point guards that are drafted.
Doc Rivers is the last drafted point guard to have sustained success in Atlanta.
The following is my Top 5 list of Atlanta’s all-time point guards:
1.Doc Rivers: Rivers is the last point guard in nearly a quarter of a century to be drafted by the Hawks to have a lasting impact. Rivers had averaged 10+ assists in the 1985, 1986 and 1987 seasons. Additionally, he was known for his defensive effort and played seven years in Atlanta. Rumeal Robinson was supposed to replace Rivers, but Robinson couldn’t take the job and he was eventually traded to the Nets for Mookie Blaylock.
2. Mookie Blaylock: It is very close between Rivers and Blaylock as to who is the best point guard in team history. Mookie came to Atlanta as part of a trade with the New Jersey Nets. Blaylock was a floor general, who played great defense and had penchant for shooting and making threes. He was the lead guard under Lenny Wilkens’ successful tenure in Atlanta.
3. Mike Bibby: The moment Bibby came to Atlanta, the Hawks were playoff contenders. He came to this team after nearly a decade in Sacramento, but his on-court leadership and clutch three-point shooting helped to make the Hawks a 50-game winner. However, Bibby’s athleticism and ability to consistently drive the lane had mostly vanished as he approached 30 years old and was traded in 2011.
4.Pete Maravich: Only played four years in Atlanta, but he definitely had an impact in his time here in Atlanta. While Maravich was in Atlanta, the Hawks made the playoffs three times–twice with an identical losing record of 36 and 46 in 1970 and 1971. However, in the third season with the Hawks, he led the team to a 46-36 record. Maravich was chosen as the third overall pick in the 1970 NBA Draft. After four productive seasons in Atlanta, Pistol Pete Maravich was traded to the New Orleans Jazz.
5. Jason Terry: Nicknamed the “Jet” was a solid player for the Hawks, but he wasn’t able to lead the Hawks to a playoff appearance in his five year stint in Atlanta. At times, he was able to put up great offensive numbers, but his supporting cast wasn’t very consistent. Terry deserves recognition, but he was more of a shooting guard than a point guard.
HONORABLE MENTION: Spud Webb: Even though Webb was Doc Rivers’ backup for a few years, he was a very capable starter when given a chance in Atlanta. After Coach Mike Fratello’s departure with the Hawks, Webb signed with Sacramento for four productive seasons.
Patrick Davis is an Atlanta Hawks’ fan. One of his favorite moments in Hawks’ history is when Dominique Wilkins and Spud Webb won Slam Dunk titles in the mid-1980’s.