The last great player to emerge from the St. Louis Hawks, Lou Hudson was a member of the All-Rookie 1st Team in 1967 thanks to a healthy 18.5 points and 5.5 rebounds that season. The sweet shooting Super Lou seemingly had a sophomore slump in 1968, though. He averaged a disappointing 12.5 points in only 46 games. The true story here though is that the military drafted Hudson and kept him from the NBA for half the season. By the time he fully returned to form, the Hawks had flown the Missouri coop and landed in Atlanta, Georgia.
Hudson’s game truly took flight in the Peach State.
From 1969 to 1975, Hudson averaged 25 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 49.6% FG and 80.3% FT. His defensive acumen is hinted at in the 1974 season when averaged 2.5 steals a game. Sadly, we don’t know how truly incredible he was in that department since that was the first season steals were tracked.
What we do know is that Hudson formed an offensive juggernaut playing alongside Pete Maravich. The two men played seamlessly off one another. Maravich would push the rock and Hudson would smoothly work off the ball. The tandem fit together like hand and glove. They reached their apogee in 1973 and 1974 where they combined for 53 points a game both years. With Walt Bellamy anchoring the middle, these teams always made the playoffs in the early 1970s (except in ’74).
They were a good team, but not good enough in the East. The Celtics and Knicks ruled the roost and thwarted the Hawks. In 1973, Hudson scorched the postseason with a league-leading 30 points a game, but that would be the last time he appeared in the playoffs until 1978 with the Lakers. By then he was older and not quite as effective.
An elbow injury in 1974 led to his untimely demise at the age of 29. Without that unfortunate injury, Super Lou would have had a few more years of prime time 20+ PPG seasons. Nonetheless, his incredible game was rewarded with six straight all-star appearances from 1969 to 1974. He notched 57 points in a game. His jersey is one of just three retired by the Hawks.
He achieved all of this thanks to a jump shot that’d make even the sweetest of Georgia peaches taste like a bland Southern cracker.
Seasons Played: 1966 – 1979
All-NBA 2nd Team (1970)
6x All-Star (1969-’74)
All-Rookie 1st Team (1967)
NBA - 890 Games
20.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.4 SPG, 48.9% FG, 79.7% FT
Contemporary NBA Ranks (1966-67 through 1978-79 season)
6th Points, 21st PPG
4th FGs Made, 21st FG%
15th FTs Made, 33rd FT%
22nd Steals*, 20th SPG*
7th Games Played, 9th Minutes Played
*Stats not kept until the 1973-74 season