Ranking the best international players in Atlanta Hawks history

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 23: Al Horford
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 23: Al Horford /
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6. Thabo Sefolosha (Switzerland)

The Hawks signed Sefolosha to a three-year deal in the 2014 summer, after becoming one of the league’s premier defensive specialists during his six seasons in Oklahoma City. After a 2010 All-Defensive Second-Team honor, Sefolosha became the defensive stopper that Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden needed to make a 2012 NBA Finals run. In his first season, Sefolosha averaged 5.3 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, while totaling only 1.7 Defensive Win Shares, which was the second-lowest total of his career.

The 2015-16 season was arguably the best of Sefolosha’s career. He averaged 6.4 points and 4.5 rebounds per game over 75 games, and played about five more minutes per game than the prior season. His 1.3 Offensive Win Shares was the third-highest total of his career, and his highest as a Hawk. In total, Sefolosha’s 4.5 Win Shares ranked fourth on the team, which is even more impressive as he ranked sixth in minutes per game.

Sefolosha was finally given the starting small forward role for the 2016-17 season, and did not disappoint. His 13.3 percent Usage Rate tied for last on the roster, but his 3.3 Win Shares ranked sixth. If not for a late-season thigh injury, Sefolosha should have challenged Tim Hardaway Jr.’s 4.8 Win Shares, which ranked third on the roster. After losing his starting role to rookie Taurean Prince and playing only nine minutes during the Hawks’ six game 2017 playoff stint, Sefolosha signed a deal with the Utah Jazz, ending one of the best role player careers in franchise history.

5. Zaza Pachulia (Georgia)

Now known as one of the most hated players in the entire league, Zaza Pachulia’s beginnings came as a solid center for the Hawks. From 2005-13, Pachulia averaged 7.3 points and 5.8 rebounds per game in just under 22 minutes per game. His per-36 numbers speak to how impressive he was, within his role, with limited playing time.

Over 556 games, Pachulia averaged 12.1 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 4.7 fouls per 36 minutes. Pachulia ranks eighth in Atlanta Hawks history in offensive rebounds (1247), 25th in minutes played (12,002), and 19th in blocks (208). His playoff career was just as memorable as any non-star player the franchise has ever seen. Videos like these truly represent the way that Pachulia made Philips Arena an elite atmosphere during the postseason.