Point Guard: Trae Young
This list boils down to talent for me. Trae Young will have only spent a year and a half of his career in the 2010s, but he is by far the most talented player the Hawks have had since Dominique Wilkins. By default, he receives the nod over the likes of Jeff Teague, Dennis Schroder, and Mike Bibby. Trae has immediately ascended to being one of the best scorers and passers in the league, and while his best days are ahead of him, you can make the argument he is the only superstar on this list.
Shooting Guard: Joe Johnson
Many may have been looking for Kyle Korver here. He was phenomenal for the Hawks, but there is no denying that Iso Joe was the more talented player overall. I thought about plugging him in over at the 3, but with the presence of Marvin Williams, Johnson played the large majority of his minutes at shooting guard. He was a three-time All-Star for the Hawks during the 2010s, leading them to the playoffs all three seasons towards the end of his prime.
His contract strapped the organization, and the team did not have the resources or star power to reach the top in the East. However, Johnson was phenomenal, and a pleasure to watch every evening. The Hawks eventually dumped his contract in a deal with the Nets.
Small Forward: Demarre Carroll
It was between Carroll and Marvin Williams here, with the slight nod going to Carroll. He was a journeyman when signed to a team-friendly deal by Atlanta but soon became an X-factor in the Hawks’ 60-win season, offering them elite 3-point shooting and defense. His stay in Atlanta was brief, as the Raptors took notice and gave him a huge deal when the salary cap exploded. But out of all the wings over the past decade, he had the most significant impact.
Power Forward: Paul Millsap
The same offseason the Hawks acquired Carroll on a team-friendly deal; they brought in Paul Millsap as well. In Atlanta, he made substantial strides, incorporating the three-ball into his regular arsenal and putting up his best numbers offensively. Millsap’s style of play was never the sexiest, but it killed opposing teams, and occasionally, he’d put up an absolute bonkers stat line featuring tons of points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks. Millsap was an All-Star in all four of his seasons with the Hawks, but eventually, they had to let him walk, as the 32-year old did not match the timeline for their rebuild. However, he will always be a fan favorite.
Center: Al Horford
Horford spent the majority of the decade with the Hawks, the team that drafted him 3rd overall in 2007. He was a four-time All-Star in Atlanta during the 2010s, offering an excellent overall game and a fundamentally sound bag of tricks. Horford did face a couple of hiccups though: multiple pectoral injuries, and a lack of physicality on the boards. Regardless, this one wasn’t close. He is one of the best players to play in Atlanta, even if he did leave a sour taste in the mouth of the fanbase upon his departure.
Backup Point Guard: Lou Williams
Lou Williams has aged like fine wine in the NBA, getting better every season. However, the South Gwinnett High School graduate had his ups and downs with the Hawks during his tenure in Atlanta. He was a great sixth man in his first season with the Hawks, but struggled in his second, leading to Mike Budenholzer offering him DNP’s.
Regardless, Sweet Lou’s scoring ability gives him the edge over Dennis Schroder’s time as the backup point guard, but it was close. Schroder gave the Hawks the luxury of being able to have two talented point guards, but Lou offered scoring in bunches after the departure of Joe Johnson, something that was desperately needed.
Backup Shooting Guard: Jamal Crawford
Crawford’s tenure with the Hawks, as well as his role in the NBA overall, is eerily similar to Sweet Lou. He served as the Hawks’ sixth man the first two years of the decade and was one of the top scorers on the team. He earned his first of three Sixth-Man of the Year Awards with Atlanta in 2010. Crawford is now 39, looking for a team to give him another crack at the league. I guarantee you he is still better than a ton of guys out there taking up roster spots.
Backup Small Forward: Deandre Bembry
The Hawks have not had a great backup small forward over the past decade. You could make the argument for Taurean Prince, but he was very briefly a backup. Bembry gets the nod for being a glue guy and offering the Hawks a ton of versatility. But what cements his spot here is that he is the best defender on the 2019-20 Hawks. Bembry has been a nice piece off the bench this season, and it will be interesting to see if the Hawks retain him for the long haul.
Backup Power Forward: Mike Scott
Mike Scott was such an underrated piece off the bench for the Hawks. It did not take long for the coaching staff to realize he was more talented than their first-round pick in the same draft, John Jenkins. Scott ended up developing into a three-point specialist for Atlanta and has carried this role to various teams since leaving. His emoji tattoo’s also helped him become a fan favorite.
Backup Center: Zaza Pachulia
Zaza played the best basketball of his career in Atlanta, offering the Hawks much-needed size down low. And while only half of his time with the team came in the 2010s, he still is an obvious choice as the backup Center. Pachulia would come into games and allow Josh Smith or Al Horford to do their thing at power forward, while he took care of the dirty work. Zaza was a vocal leader and an enforcer for the Hawks. Overall, he ended up spending eight years with Atlanta.
Head Coach: Mike Budenholzer
The beginning and end of Budenholzer’s tenure with the Hawks was far from graceful. But during his five years in Atlanta, Coach Bud brought over a system 19 years in the making from being Pop’s right-hand man in San Antonio. With this, he maximized the performance of a Hawks team that was not even remotely close to talented enough to win a championship.
He led Atlanta to 60-wins and the Eastern Conference Finals in one of the finest seasons in franchise history. Coach Bud is missed and is doing his thing now in Milwaukee, but he wanted to win now, and that didn’t fit the Hawks’ timeline going forward.
Assistant Coaches: Quin Snyder and Kenny Atkinson
Coach Bud was pretty freaking good at putting together a coaching staff as well. Quin Snyder was named the head assistant coach in 2013-14 and helped the Hawks grow immensely on the defensive side of the ball. After one season, he was hired away by the Utah Jazz as their head coach, where he has found plenty of success.
During the Hawks’ magical season in which they won 60 games, a lot of the credit was attributed to assistant coach Kenny Atkinson, who served with the team from 2012-2016. His primary role was player development. You could make the argument that just about every player on that team had their career-best seasons during his time in Atlanta, and even the veterans vastly improved, such as Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver, and Jeff Teague. He was hired as the Nets’ head coach in 2016 and has done a phenomenal job building a solid core despite not having any draft capital.