Finding Value at 24

Tuesday, May 25, 2010
By Jon Newberry

The Hawks have the 24th pick in the first round of the 2010 NBA Draft. There will be 23 picks before them on draft night, which means there will be 23 variables that influence their pick. That being said, I will leave the analysis and player evaluation to Hawks GM Rick Sund and his staff and resist throwing out names of players that could slide in and contribute next season.

While many of you will argue that the best the Hawks can hope for with a pick as late as 24th is a career-long role player, there are countless examples of past diamonds in the rough. In fact, of the 12 Eastern Conference All-Stars this season, three of them were drafted outside of the top-20: Gerald Wallace (25th in 2001), David Lee (30th in 2005) and Rajon Rondo (21st in 2006). Within the Hawks franchise history there are also examples of making the most of later picks.

Hawks All-Stars that were drafted later than 24th overall:

  • Doc Rivers – 31st overall in 1984
    Rivers is the only player in Hawks history to average a double-double with points and assists for an entire season (12.4pts/10.0ast in 1986-87). He was also named to the 1988 All-Star team.
  • Eddie Johnson – 49th overall in 1977
    Johnson was a 2-time All-Star with the Hawks.
  • John Drew – 25th overall in 1974
    Drew was a 2-time All-Star with the Hawks and was ultimately traded along with Freeman Williams for Dominique Wilkins.


  • Lost in NBA history is the fact that the Hawks franchise drafted two of the cornerstones of professional sports greatest dynasty. Both Bob Cousy (1950 by the Tri-Cities Hawks) and Bill Russell (1956 by the St. Louis Hawks) were originally drafted by the franchise. Cousy’s rights were sold to the Chicago Stags who subsequently folded, opening the door for the Celtics to pick up Cousy in the dispersal draft, and Russell was traded to Boston on draft night for future NBA Hall of Famers Cliff Hagan and Ed Macauley.
  • In 1969 the Hawks drafted Butch Beard 10th overall as their first of 20 selections that night. While Beard enjoyed a 10 year career and became an All-Star in 1972 (although he only played the 1969-70 season with Atlanta) he was only one of four members of the Hawks ’69 draft class that saw any NBA action. Atlanta picked up Grady O’Malley in the 19th round and he spent the entire season with the team, appearing in 24 games. Drafted 214th overall, O’Malley will forever be the highest pick to see minutes in a Hawks uniform.


  • Bob Petit – 2nd overall in 1950 by the Milwaukee Hawks
    Petit went on to become the NBA Rookie of the Year, a 10-time All-NBA 1st Team selection, 2-time NBA scoring champion, first recipient of the NBA’s MVP award, and NBA Hall of Famer.
  • Lenny Wilkins – 6th overall in 1960 by the St. Louis Hawks
    Wilkins was twice inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame. Once as a player (1989) and once as a coach (1998).
  • Lou Hudson – 4th overall in 1966 by the St. Louis Hawks
    6-time All-Star scored the first points for the Atlanta Hawks after the franchise relocated from St. Louis.
  • “Pistol” Pete Maravich – 3rd overall in 1970 by the Atlanta Hawks
    Hall of Famer played four seasons with the Hawks.
  • Kevin Willis – 11th overall in 1984 by the Atlanta Hawks
    Played in 1424 games during 20 seasons in the NBA. Is currently 22nd on the NBA’s career rebounding list.

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