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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Tree Rollins, Atlanta Hawks
(Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images) /

This guy had a top-tier nickname for sure. He was tall and he was known in the NBA as Tree Rollins. Though never an All-Star, Rollins was an important frontcourt player for the Hawks when Dominique Wilkins was in his prime in the 1980s. Atlanta drafted the big man No. 14 overall out of nearby Clemson in the 1977 NBA Draft.

Rollins played in 18 NBA seasons. The first 11 came with the team that drafted him in the Hawks. Though never much of a scoring threat, as he never averaged 10.0 points per game in his career, Rollins was a defensive wizard and a marvel in rim protection. In 1983, he led the NBA in blocked shots. That would be his first season that he made an NBA All-Defensive team. He would make second-team that spring.

The following season saw Rollins make his only All-Defensive first team. That winter, Rollins averaged 5.1 defensive rebounds and 3.6 blocks per game. After 11 seasons in Atlanta, Rollins would sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1988 NBA free agency, where he would spend the next two seasons.

Rollins would play with the Cavaliers, the Detroit Pistons, the Houston Rockets and the Orlando Magic before retiring after the 1994-95 NBA season. While he made the NBA Finals in his last season in the league, Rollins would never win an NBA Championship in his 18-year career. In 11 seasons with the Hawks, Rollins averaged 7.4 rebounds, 7.0 points and 2.8 blocks in 25.5 minutes per contest.