Greatest sixth man in Atlanta Hawks history: Josh Childress
The Atlanta Hawks have been one of the most reliable franchises in NBA history never to win a title. From Dominique Wilkins to Joe Johnson, a number of high-profile All-Stars have worn the Hawks’ colors.
A number of reserve players have done the same, and there are a handful of candidates for the best sixth man in team history. Jamal Crawford first made his move to the bench in Atlanta. Spud Webb came off the bench for a few seasons before establishing himself in the starting lineup. Jon Koncak was a backup center who played consistent minutes for nearly a decade.
The nod here goes to Josh Childress, a player who joined the league with plenty of potential. The Hawks drafted him sixth overall in 2004, and it is true that he never developed into the type of star they expected. But evaluated outside of expectations Childress was a strong bench player while in Atlanta.
Every season from 2004 through 2008 Childress started less and played better, culminating in a 2007-08 season when he played in 76 games, all off the bench, scoring 11.8 points per game. His offensive efficiency was borderline elite as he was able to pick his spots coming off the bench. His true shooting percentage of 64.7 percent was second only to Amar’e Stoudemire in the entire league.
Childress led the Hawks in win shares that season with 7.6, the most of any player in Hawks history primarily coming off of the bench. The young forward was seeming to finally follow through on some of the potential he entered with. Yet, in one of the modern NBA’s most unique decisions, Childress chose to dodge restricted free agency by signing with Greek basketball club Olympiacos, and he would never again play for the Hawks.