You’re in your second semester of AP Basketball History, you love really good teams, and you love lists. With precious little drama left in the NBA’s 2015 offseason, why don’t we hit the barroom and/or barbershop, pour ourselves a frosty mug of Barbicide, and get to arguin’ over each franchise’s most formidable starting five-man lineup.
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Because we don’t like making tough decisions, the lineups will reflect the All-NBA line of thinking. There will be no differentiation between separate forward and guard positions, and the squads will be chosen after careful consideration of individual merits only – we don’t really care if your team’s top shooting guard and point guard don’t get along.
These rankings will roll out based on when each franchise began its NBA life. We continue with the Milwaukee Bucks, who are from Milwaukee.
C: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. It’s hard to overstate just how dominant a force Abdul-Jabbar was in his time with the Bucks. His presence allowed for a 29-win improvement in his team’s fortunes in his rookie year, and he was the go-to scorer in the team’s 1971 NBA championship. Mind you, though the Bucks did feature a sound supporting cast and the addition of Oscar Robertson during that campaign, this was a championship won in the third year of the expansion Bucks franchise. Abdul-Jabbar averaged 30.4 points, 15.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 4.6 combined blocks/steals in his time with the team, prior to forcing a trade to Los Angeles.
F: Marques Johnson. Best known for, um, forgetting to bring something he left in his car in the film ‘White Men Can’t Jump,’ Johnson was an all-around threat for the Bucks teams that met the challenge of living in a post-Kareem world. He was the leading scorer on a 1981’s 60-win team, and made four All-Star teams with the club. Johnson averaged 21 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists per contest as a Buck, often running the team and initiating plays offensively from the power forward slot.
F: Bob Dandridge. A killer two-way player, Dandridge’s expert mid-range game and athletic work on both ends made him the ultimate tertiary championship helper. He won a title with the Bucks in 1971 alongside Kareem and Oscar, and went on to average 18.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 3.2 assists per game in his time with the Bucks. Aldridge was a three-time All-Star while in Milwaukee.
G: Sidney Moncrief. Moncrief’s rugged and athletic game in an undersized off guard frame helped make the Bucks routine championship contenders while playing in the loaded Eastern Conference of the 1980s. A two-time Defensive Player of the Year in 1983 and 1984, at just 6-4 (maybe), Moncrief also added sort of a proto-Dwyane Wade-like game on the offensive end. He earned heaps of free throw line attempts and averaged 16.7 points, five rebounds and 3.7 assists per game as a Buck.
G: Ray Allen. The NBA’s all-time leader in three-pointers never won a championship in Milwaukee, but his sweet stroke helped take the Bucks to within one game of the 2001 NBA Finals – the closest Milwaukee has been to a ring since losing the 1974 NBA Finals. Allen navigated several disparate Buck rosters on his way toward three All-Star Game appearances, 19.6 points per game (with several other needy scorers playing alongside him) and a 40 percent mark from three-point range.
Oscar Robertson’s four seasons with Milwaukee might have some complaint, as he did bring Milwaukee its lone championship, but his four years lost out in a coin flip to Ray Allen’s six and a half years in Wisconsin. Still, he averaged 16.3 points and 7.5 assists with the Bucks. Jon McGlocklin was never much of a star, but he did make the All-Star team during Milwaukee’s first season and was a 15.8-point per game scorer in the 1971 championship year. Guard Brian Winters is too often known as the starring return piece of the trade that sent Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Los Angeles, but he was a two-time All-Star and 16.7-point scorer in Milwaukee.
Junior Bridgeman was never an All-Star, but he was a much-beloved Buck and one of the first early adopters of the three-point line. Glenn Robinson was not as similarly beloved, but one cannot discount the 21.1-points per game average he contributed after Milwaukee selected him No. 1 overall in the 1994 draft. Paul Pressey was likely the most consistent point forward to exist in the NBA ranks, and fellow swingman Alvin Robertson was a massive defensive deterrent during his four-year stint with the team.
Meanwhile, Terry Cummings (19.4 points, 7.8 rebounds a game as a Buck) remains one of the great underrated players of all time.
That’s our five. Who would you take?
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