NBA: 30 greatest playmakers in NBA history

(Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Dominique Wilkins, Atlanta Hawks
(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images) /

29. Dominique Wilkins, Atlanta Hawks

Dominique Wilkins was a highlight reel waiting to happen as a member of the Atlanta Hawks. Wilkins was nicknamed “The Human Highlight Film” during his time in the team from 1982 to 1994. He won two NBA Slam Dunk Contests in 1985 and 1990, but he was much more than that during games.

Wilkins won the league’s scoring title in 1985-86 (30.3 PPG), setting off a streak of nine-consecutive All-Star appearances with the Hawks. He set his career-high in points in a single-game at 57 points during that year.

He averaged 30.7 points per game in 1987-88, second to league MVP, Chicago Bulls shooting guard Michael Jordan. A seven-game battle with Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics in the 1988 NBA Playoffs put Wilkins’ name on the map. The rest of the league on notice, although Atlanta lost in the end, 4-3.

With competition in the East, Wilkins begin to evolve as an all-around playmaker by the 1990-91 season. He snagged a career-high 9.0 rebounds per contest, along with 25.9 points and 3.3 assists per game in 1990-91.

A ruptured Achilles’ slowed down his progress in 1991-92, but he returned his old playmaking self by the arrival of the 1992-93 season. Wilkins produced 29.9 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game that year.

A trade to the Los Angeles Clippers midway through the 1993-94 season changed Wilkins’ projection as a scorer and playmaker in the league. His unhappiness with his role changed things a bit, but it didn’t stop the powers that be from electing him to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.