For the majority of Hawks history, the night of the NBA draft was looked upon with hopeless optimism. It went something like, “They couldn’t possibly screw up another lottery pick this year, can they?” And yet year after year, they overlooked the All-Stars for players who could barely maintain an NBA roster spot for more than five years. It’s been agonizing, which makes it that much more refreshing to have a man that knows what he is doing pushing the buttons. But this article isn’t about the intelligent moves of Travis Schlenk; it’s about the faults of his predecessors – the five worst draft picks in Atlanta Hawks history.
5. Acie Law
2007, Pick #11
The 2007-2008 draft was a memorable one for Atlanta. They drafted Al Horford, who is among the franchise’s best players all-time, igniting a streak of ten straight playoff runs that ended two seasons ago. However, it could have been a hell of a lot better had they landed with the 11th overall pick. They chose Acie Law, who averaged 5.5 points in his best season, which was not even in Atlanta. He only spent two years with the Hawks and was out of the league by 2011.
4. DerMmarr Johnson
Atlanta took 20-year old DerMmarr Johnson 6th overall in the 2000 draft. In the Hawks defense, this was an awful class, but Johnson put up the production of a second round pick. He averaged 6.7 points over his two years with the Hawks. By 2008, at age 27, he was out of the NBA.
3. Marvin Williams
2005, Pick #2
In 2005, the Hawks had the perfect opportunity to snag Chris Paul, who was reportedly interested in coming down south. Instead, they went with a wing out of North Carolina. It’s no coincidence that Williams has the same body type as Michael Jordan and played the same position. Maybe that nostalgia is what turned the Hawks away from Paul, who ended up going fourth overall. The third pick was Deron Williams, another star point guard. To Marvin Williams’ credit, he’s the best player on this list and is looked down upon primarily because of who he was drafted in front of. The Hawks also passed on All-Stars such as Andrew Bynum and Danny Granger.
2. John Koncak
1985, Pick #5
The 1985 draft is known for producing one thing – Hall of Famers. Patrick Ewing got it started, Chris Mullen kept it going six picks later, and Charles Oakley, Karl Malone, and Joe Dumars followed. In between all of that was John Koncak – the Hawks selection with the fifth overall pick. The best thing that can be said about Koncak is he made it ten years with the team, but he was never anything more than a role player. Koncak played some decent defense and could rebound, but only averaged 4.6 points per game in his Hawks career. In such a loaded draft, this was a substantial blunder.
1. Shelden Williams
2006, Pick #5
Shelden Williams was a freak at Duke on both sides of the ball, which garnered him attention in the lottery. His problem was that at 6’9″, he didn’t have a position. Williams was not skilled enough to play power forward and didn’t have the size to play center. As a result, he only spent two seasons in Atlanta after being picked in the top-five. That’s the definition of an abysmal selection. To make matters worse, Brandon Roy, Rudy Gay, and J.J. Reddick were taken in the six spots after him.