Past and Present TPA Leaders: Atlanta Hawks
Thus begins Past and Present TPA Leaders—NBA Math’s new offseason series that will cover each team in alphabetical order, beginning with the Atlanta Hawks. In each installment, we’ll provide three overarching pieces of visual information: the top 10 in career TPA earned during the regular season for the relevant franchise, a look at the All-TPA depth chart (each player is eligible only during his top-rated season) and the current TPA status of each member of the 2016-17 roster.
If you need a refresher on what TPA is or how it’s derived, we’ve got you covered. Just click here.
Since 1974, the earliest date for which we can calculate TPA, the Hawks have struggled to produce superstars. They’ve rostered plenty of memorable names, but those memories seem to fade as the years make former fan-favorites little more than nondescript old-timers.
Devoid of titles since the franchise’s St. Louis days, they ended a post-merger Eastern Conference Finals drought in 2015, where they were swept out of contention by the Cleveland Cavaliers. That 2014-15 squad also made history by winning 60 games for the first time in Atlanta history—little surprise, as it boasted 9.5 percent of the total All-Star appearances during the relevant time period, thanks to Al Horford, Paul Millsap, Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver.
In fact, those are four of the 18 different players to participate in the midseason festivities since 1974. But not all 18 can finish among the top 10 in career TPA for the Hawks:
If you’re surprised Mookie Blaylock is hanging with Dominique Wilkins, the Hall of Famer and near-consensus best player in Hawks history, I don’t blame you. But the point guard’s two-way play gave him some spectacular defensive numbers, and he’s the proud owner of the top two seasons in the Atlanta database.
Of course, it may be even more shocking that Joe Johnson is noticeably absent from the top 10 and fails to appear on the All-TPA depth chart:
|All-TPA Depth Chart – ATL|
|PG||’97 Mookie Blaylock||’87 Doc Rivers||’09 Mike Bibby||’15 Jeff Teague|
|SG||’02 Jason Terry||’94 Stacey Augmon||’98 Steve Smith||’15 Kyle Korver|
|SF||’76 John Drew||’91 Dominique Wilkins||’74 Lou Hudson||’15 DeMarre Carroll|
|PF||’10 Josh Smith||’16 Paul Millsap||’80 Dan Roundfield||’97 Christian Laettner|
|C||’80 Tree Rollins||’11 Al Horford||’97 Dikembe Mutombo||’89 Moses Malone|
Though Johnson was an All-Star mainstay during his prime years in the Peach State, his top TPA output was a mere 119.18 in 2009-10—the No. 59 season in the team’s rankings. For perspective, 31 players throughout the league posted a superior mark in 2015-16, and that 119.18 put Johnson at No. 35 in 2009-10, sandwiched between Paul Pierce and Troy Murphy. Poor defensive scores allowed him to accumulate just 468.96 TPA before leaving for the Brooklyn Nets.
And for those of you wondering about Tree Rollins, he was a defensive anchor during the 1979-80 campaign. He saved 196.83 points on the defensive end, which trails only ’83 Rollins (275.02), ’97 Dikembe Mutombo (241.92), ’10 Josh Smith (231.73), ’16 Paul Millsap (224.91) and ’08 Smith (207.21) on the franchise leaderboard.
When you’re that excellent on defense and still finish as an offensive asset, you’re going to deserve some serious credit.
But as for the current members of the Hawks, only two are realistic threats to continue ascending within the top 10 or burst into it—Kyle Korver and Millsap, who already sits at No. 9. They’re two of the three rostered players who have positive TPAs for Atlanta:
If the Hawks are to continue threatening for a top seed in the East, Dennis Schroder will have to rocket up the standings. So too will Kent Bazemore, and it wouldn’t hurt if the many players stuck at zero—Dwight Howard and the rookies—quickly start stockpiling TPA.