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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Bob Pettit, St. Louis Hawks
(Photo by: Bob Ganley/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images) /

When you are creating the Mount Rushmore for greatest Hawks of all-time, there are two players that make the cut every time with no exception: Dominique Wilkins and Bob Pettit. While Wilkins doesn’t make this list because he was technically drafted by the Utah Jazz, Pettit is obviously No. 1 here. Pettit was selected by the then Milwaukee Hawks No. 2 overall out of LSU in the 1954 NBA Draft.

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Though he never played in Atlanta, Pettit was one of the greatest power forwards of all-time. He not only made the All-Star Game in all 11 of his NBA seasons, he made an All-NBA team each year as well.

Pettit was NBA Rookie of the Year in 1954-55. He was All-NBA first team in his first 10 NBA seasons and second team in his final year in year 11.

As a second-year player, Pettit won his first of two NBA MVPs, his first of four All-Star Game MVPs and his first of two scoring titles. In his fourth year in the league, Pettit led the 1957-58 Hawks to their only NBA Championship in franchise history.

He made the NBA’s 25th, 35th and 50th Anniversary All-Time Teams. It’s just too bad that he played in the same NBA as Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics.

Next: Top 10 players in Atlanta Hawks history

Pettit would retire after the 1964-65 NBA season. He averaged 26.4 points, 16.2 rebounds and 3.0 rebounds per game in 38.8 minutes per contest. His No. 50 and No. 9 jerseys are retired by LSU and the Hawks, respectively. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1971. His classmates include Bob Cousy and Abe Saperstein. Pettit was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.