Atlanta Hawks: 15 best NBA Draft picks of all-time

Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Pete Maravich, Atlanta Hawks
(Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Before even beginning his NBA career, “Pistol” Pete Maravich was the greatest college basketball player of all-time, period. Maravich was everything for the LSU Tigers, averaging an absolutely insane 44.2 points per game for the Bayou Bengals. Keep in mind that he did that in three years at LSU, as freshmen were ineligible to play on varsity. He also played in an era before the three-point line and the shot clock.

Atlanta drafted Pistol No. 3 overall in the 1970 NBA Draft. While his time in the NBA wasn’t long, nor did he spend a great deal of time with the Hawks, you simply cannot tell the story of basketball without mentioning the offensive wizardry of Maravich. In essence, he was Stephen Curry before Stephen Curry.

Maravich played his first four seasons in the NBA with the Hawks. He was an All-Rookie first teamer in 1971. In 1973, Maravich made his first trip to the All-Star Game in Atlanta uniform. That  season, he was second team All-NBA. He averaged 26.1 points, 6.9 assists and 4.9 rebounds per game that year. Maravich would back that up with another All-Star appearance in his final season in Atlanta.

In 1974, Maravich would be traded to the New Orleans Jazz. He would play the next 5.5 seasons with the Jazz organization, finishing up his career in 1980 as a member of the Boston Celtics. Maravich averaged 24.3 points, 5.6 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game in four years with the Hawks. He has his jersey retired by three organizations: the Hawks, the Jazz and the New Orleans Pelicans. Maravich was enshrined into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1987. He would tragically die a year later at age 40 from a heart attack after a pickup game in 1988.