The 8 Greatest Hawks in history, ranked by Player Efficiency Rating (PER)

These players possess the highest Player Efficiency Ratings in Hawks franchise history.
Dominique Wilkins, Atlanta Hawks
Dominique Wilkins, Atlanta Hawks / Focus On Sport/GettyImages

Though their last NBA championship came over 60 years ago, there has still been plenty for the Atlanta Hawks to celebrate over the years. They have employed some spectacular individual talents that will be forever remembered in basketball history.

One of the most interesting ways we can break down and analyze these players is by using a unique stat called Player Efficiency Rating, or PER. Developed by ESPN Columnist John Hollinger, this number is found by combining all the positive and negative statistical accomplishments of a player in their career and combining it into a single number.

Using this number, we can make determinations about how effective a player truly was. The following eight players achieved the highest PERs in Hawks history. For reference, a PER of 15 indicates a league-average level player, with 20 being an All-Star level player and 25 or higher being MVP level.

8. Moses Malone - 20.1

One of the most underrated players of all time, Moses Malone competed with the Hawks from 1988 until 1991. Though he was closer to the end of his playing days than the beginning by then, he still earned an All-Star bid in 1989 thanks in part to his superior rebounding prowess that he became famous for.

7. Shareef Abdur-Rahim - 20.2

During his 12 years in the league, Shareef Abdur-Rahim spent three seasons in Atlanta. He earned the only All-Star appearance of his career with the Hawks in 2002, and became one of the youngest players to score 10,000 points with his lethal jump shot.

6. John Drew - 21.0

A second-round draft pick, John Drew began his NBA career in 1974. He spent eight seasons with the Hawks and earned two All-Star appearances in 1976 and 1980. A high-level scorer, Drew finished two seasons in the top 10 for total points scored.

5. Clyde Lovellette - 21.6

Another player known for a strong scoring ability, Clyde Lovellete made a name for himself playing alongside the legendary George Mikan with the Minneapolis Lakers in the 1950s. When he joined the St. Louis Hawks in 1958, he was still playing at a high level, being named to the All-Star team in 1960 and 1961.

4. Trae Young - 21.9

Drafted by the Hawks with the fifth overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft, Trae Young has quickly become one of the best point guards in the NBA today. In just his sixth season in the league, he already has three All-Star appearances and an All-NBA team to his name. His top-tier vision and accurate long-range shooting make him a deadly scorer and playmaker.

3. Dominique Wilkins - 22.1

One of the most athletic players in league history, Dominique Wilkins became a must-see, one-of-a-kind talent during his time with the Hawks. The third pick in the 1982 draft, Wilkins was not just an incredible all-around player that earned six All-NBA nominations during his 12 seasons in Atlanta, but his leaping ability led him to win two slam dunk contests in 1985 and 1990.

2. Clint Capela - 22.2

Traded to the Hawks from the Rockets in 2020, Clint Capela has been the perfect pick-and-roll partner for an all-world passer like Trae Young. Operating as a more traditional-style big that plays close to the rim, Capela's accumulation of rebounds and points through high-percentage shots at the rim have led to him registering an excellent PER during his time with the team.

1. Bob Pettit - 25.4

A pioneer of the game, Bob Pettit was the second overall pick in the 1954 draft out of LSU. Playing with the Hawks while they were located in both Milwaukee and St. Louis, Pettit won two MVP awards in 1956 and 1959, helping the team to their only NBA championship in 1958.

A 10-time All-NBA First Team honoree, Bob dominated the game and won two scoring titles as well as a rebounding championship. With his high shooting percentages and extensive statistical records, it is no wonder he is the franchise's best in terms of PER as well.

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