For the Hawks, losing Webster was a sting. After all that was a #3 pick down the drain. And Webster certainly had his moments during a 10-year ABA/NBA career, most notably bringing Seattle to within one game of the 1978 NBA title. But he was more of a loss in opportunity. Albeit a big one. The two players picked right after Webster were centers Alvan Adams and Darryl Dawkins.
Atlanta definitely could have used either center in their lineup.
Losing Thompson was the real kick in the pants. After having lucked their way into the #1 overall pick through the ineptitude of the New Orleans Jazz, Atlanta lost a generational talent for absolutely nothing. Even considering Thompson’s battles with drug addiction in the late 70s and early 80s, he was a bona fide superstar and was ultimately inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Luckily for Atlanta, they did recover from the ’75 fiasco by drafting slow Tree Rollins and fast Eddie Johnson in 1977; trading for defensive stalwart Dan Roundfield in 1978; and watching John Drew grow into a certified bucket-getter. So the franchise wasn’t totally left for dead.
But 45 years later, the team still hasn’t had another #1 overall pick and losing out on David Thompson was a bitter pill to swallow.
This jam’s for you, New Orleans Jazz…
“Hawks Vow to Sign Thompson, Webster,” Atlanta Constitution, May 30, 1975
"David Thompson inks with Denver Nuggets,” Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, July 15, 1975
“Nuggets or the Hawks? Webster hasn’t decided,” Louisville Courier-Journal, June 17, 1975 The Record (Hackensack, NJ), June 20, 1975
“Atlanta loses battle for David Thompson,” July 9, 1975
How else did that $400,000 fine impact the Hawks?
What was brouhaha around Atlanta signing Julius Erving?
How did the Jazz fail despite having Pistol Pete?
The Baltimore Claws?! That’s the whole question.
What other talented young players did the Squires give away over the years?