Thursday, January 21, 2010

THHB's Top 10 Hawks of the Decade: Number Ten

First, we invite you to check out our other End of the Hawks Decade articles:

A Decade of Hawks Aughts (and Aught-Nots),

Top Hawks by Statistical Category

THHB's Top 10 (and more) Hawks of the Decade (the and more edition)

We kick off the countdown with a pair of Hawks that you wouldn't think were similar, but they are.

Player A: 21.6 minutes per game, 8.3 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 2.5 oreb, .467 FG, 13.0 ORB%, 20.1 USG%
Player B: 22.7 minutes per game, 8.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 2.4 oreb, .465 FG, 12.3 ORB%, 19.0 USG%

Our Number Ten Hawk(s) of the Decade are:

Nazr Mohammed and Zaza Pachulia

Nazr came to the Hawks in the Dikembe Mutombo deal in 2001 with the Sixers and was a solid figure on the Hawks for parts of three seasons. Mohammed played a career high amount of minutes and games started for the 2001-2002 Hawks and led the decade in Offensive Rebounding percentage. Nazr never was an above the rim player, but was able to be a good shot deterrent inside, finishing 6th in blocks per game in the decade, 5th in blocks rate, and 8th overall despite his part time minutes.

We tended to underrate him as a player when he was a Hawk, likely longing for a talent like Mutombo inside, and we bristled initially when Pete Babcock signed him to his 5 year, 28.5 million dollar deal the offseason after coming over from PHL. It wasn't long before we saw that, while Nazr wasn't ever going to be Dikembe, he was worth the moderate amount of money as an excellent offensive rebounder, good overall rebounder, and shot blocker. Nazr is still getting it done with the Bobcats, still rebounding, blocking shots, and being an excellent value in the middle.

Which brings us to Zaza, who has achieved fan favorite status for a few reasons:

He isn't afraid to mix it up with the other team, a trait that---ummm---well----not many other Hawks have. We're sure you don't need proof, but in case you do, never forget this:

His offensive rebounding and ability to get to the line. Pachulia does a terrific job of keeping possessions alive and getting shooters like Joe Johnson more throws at the basket. Zaza also does a remarkable job at drawing contact while shooting, even if sometimes he doesn't seem all that concerned about where the ball is going.

His initial contract was a modest 4 years and 16 million. His next contract, signed this past offseason, was a slight raise at 4 years and 19 million despite money out there for centers. Zaza took somewhat below market value and stayed with the ATL. Who doesn't love and respect that?!

Zaza and Nazr have another thing in common---they are not bashful about talking to the fans on Twitter, which makes them instant THHB favorites. Zaza can be found as @zaza27 and Nazr tweets from his @nazrmohammed address.

Both guys were role playing centers who provided sneaky value to the team and THHB recognizes their efforts as the Number Ten Top Hawk(s) of the Decade!


Bronnt said...

Love the "Aught-not" pun.

Jason Walker said...

Thank you, Bronn!