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Opinion

2001 Atlanta Hawks: Another team record broken... for losing

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16th February, 2021
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After coming off their franchise’s worst season, surely the band-aid was completely ripped off.

No, this title says differently. Fans must have realised this was not going to be a glorious season after the team lost 12 of their first 14 games.

Take a second to digest that. They lost 12 of their first 14 games. To make it sadder, they lost their first two games by a combined total of 49 points.

For reference, the 2001 season had the second lowest points per game since 1955 with an average of 94.8 points per game. And they lost their first two by a combined 49 points.

Naturally, it did not take long for players to make their can of worms a public matter, starting with long-time journeyman Jim Jackson.

But Jackson was not sent to the Lake Show, far from it. Instead he was shipped to his hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Along with Jackson, the Hawks also said goodbye to Anthony Johnson, a supporting actor in the infamous future ‘Malice at the Palace’. Although Johnson would return to Atlanta on three separate occasions.

wo hands compete for a basketball at tip off

(Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

The last riddance of the trade saw the departure of Larry Robinson, the definition of a useless veteran who has played in every team imaginable.

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So with all of these players going, the Hawks were only able to obtain one name: Brevin Knight.

If you just asked who, I don’t blame you. Knight was the former 16th pick in the draft but lost his starting gig to Andre Miller after only playing six games for Cleveland with a sore knee.

But after moving Jason Terry to the two, Knight was welcomed to Atlanta with big arms.

Unfortunately, he never really found his way and was constantly a sore sight for Atlanta fans, playing nearly 30 minutes a game while being statistically irrelevant.

However the Hawks did have one all star to look up to by the name of Dikembe Mutombo. However with just seven hours left in the trade deadline, Hawks were forced to say their farewells again to a seven-foot-two defensive juggernaut.

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This time they were trading for first and last time All Star Theo Ratliff, along with two other less important names. But Ratliff never even saw the floor all season due to a wrist injury while Mutombo went on to win defensive player of the year and starred in the NBA finals alongside Allen Iverson.

Could you hear the pain in the Hawks’ franchise from that last sentence?

The emergence of Jason Terry was this season’s number one feature. Terry exploded on the scene with a career-high 19.7 points a game. He would go on to average the same number in 2009 – a credit to his long career.

First-year coach Lon Kruger was unable to prevent the Hawks obtaning their worst record in franchise history, going 25-57.

But unforeseen to Hawks fans, they were just about to draft one of the top ten international players of all time.