Stats: 19.0 PTS, 3.6 REB, 3.4 AST per game, 40.6% 3FG, 86.7% FT%
Accolades: 1990-91 NBA All-Star, 1988-89 NBA All-Rookie Team
Hersey Hawkins may not be the most memorable Sixer. He’s probably not the most memorable Sixer whose last name rhymes with “Fawkins”. But he was very good at what he did: scoring, and doing it efficiently.
Hawkins’ three-point percentage, in today’s game, would be well above-average. Back in the late 80s, when three-pointing shooting wasn’t as much of a focus for teams, it was spectacular. 4 times as a 76er Hawkins finished in the top 10 in 3-point shooting percentage. His free throw percentage was also very good – he finished his Sixers career with an 86.7% FT percentage, and would go on to finish in the top 10 in free throw shooting 5 times. At his best, Hawkins would get to the line 7 times per game and shoot more than 3 three pointers – with his percentages, that was a combination to behold.
Furthermore, Hawkins almost never sat out. Proof? He missed 7 games in his first 11 seasons, all in his first 5, which were with the Sixers. That’s almost unheard of – he played 6 straight seasons without missing a game by his own accord (the 98-99 lockout would make everyone miss games, though Hawkins played in every one that actually happened). He was a nightly scoring machine. With a strong team surrounding him, Hawkins’ Sixers career was bound to be a success.
And it worked out well, initially. Serving as the second fiddle to Charles Barkley, Hawkins, teaming with his Sixers, made the playoffs in each of his first three years. While he performed terribly in his first playoff appearance (and trust me, terrible may not do the performance justice), he rebounded in his next two appearances, averagins 20+ points with sparkling shooting percentages. But his playoff success would peak there. The Sixers, after 3 consecutive playoff appearances, would go on to miss the playoffs a year later. Add in a Charles Barkley trade after that, and you see that Hawkins’ 76ers days were numbered. Eventually, the team went into full-rebuilding mode, trading Hawkins for a swarm of Charlotte Hornets.*
*Okay, that was bad. I apologize.
Over the past 30 years, the Sixers have only had 2 iconic teams. Hersey Hawkins was a member of the third-best Sixers team of this stretch, which means he won’t be remembered as fondly as the role players on the iconic teams. But he could shoot the lights out for a team that nearly joined the list of icons. As it stands, Hawkins is the last member of the top 10, which places him among the icons.