Ten Bucks Worth Of Draft-Day Rewards ... And 40 Years Of Interest

Glenn Robinson played 8 seasons
in Milwaukee after being drafted
#1 in 1994. (Getty)

June 27, 2007
by Truman Reed / special to Bucks.com

Elsewhere on Bucks.com, you will find the names of Al Horford, Mike Conley Jr., Brandan Wright, Corey Brewer and Jeff Green.

All are expected to be lottery picks in the 2007 NBA Draft, which will be conducted Thursday, June 28. Someday, one of them may find his name on a list similar to this one, which chronicles 10 of the most insightful, most pivotal or most rewarding draft choices the Milwaukee Bucks have made during their 40-year history:

1) Jon McGlocklin (1968 NBA Expansion Draft) -- The Bucks did not draft McGlocklin out of college; the Cincinnati Royals selected him out of Indiana University in the third round of the 1965 NBA Draft, and he had three seasons of pro experience when the Bucks made him one of their 18 selections in the 1968 NBA Expansion Draft. Even before Lew Alcindor entered their crosshairs, the Bucks needed players to make their fledgling franchise take flight. McGlocklin became the face of that franchise and remains exactly that some 40 years later. Given a window of opportunity he hadn’t seen in either Cincinnati or San Diego, McGlocklin emerged as the Bucks’ first NBA All-Star, averaging 19.6 points per game. Milwaukee’s expansion unit was one of the best in professional sports history, winning 27 games and averaging 110.2 points per game. McGlocklin was a mainstay of the Bucks’ ’71 championship squad as well, and still ranks among the Bucks’ all-time leaders in several categories, including games played (fourth, 595) and points (12th, 7,505). On Dec. 10, 1976, his jersey No. 14 was raised to the rafters, joining Oscar Robertson’s No. 1 as the only digits retired by the Bucks to that point in their history (and among the seven current ones). He joined Bucks announcer Eddie Doucette in founding the Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer (MACC) Fund in 1976, and today ranks as one of Milwaukee’s all-time icons.

2) Lew Alcindor (first round of 1969 NBA Draft, first overall) – Ever wonder what would have happened had Milwaukee lost the famous coin flip with the Phoenix Suns for the first prize in the ’69 Draft? Most Bucks fans would choose not to. The Suns wound up with Neal Walk, a burly center out of Arizona State, who actually had a serviceable eight-year career, even averaging 20.2 points and 12.4 rebounds in one season. But Alcindor, the three-time UCLA All-American who would change his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, became the NBA Rookie of the Year, an instant NBA All-Star and the centerpiece of Milwaukee’s 1971 NBA championship team. The 7 foot-2 inch, 232-pound center averaged 30.4 ppg. and 15.3 rpg. during his career in the Brew City. The only regret of the storybook tale for Bucks fans is Abdul-Jabbar demanded and received a trade after six seasons in Milwaukee and went on to win five titles with the Los Angeles Lakers. His jersey No. 33 was retired by the Bucks in 1993, and he entered the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995. He ranks as the all-time leading scorer in NBA history with 38,387 points.

3) Bob Dandridge (fourth round of 1969 NBA Draft, 45th overall) – Milwaukee hit the jackpot more than once in its second draft of collegiate talent. Three rounds after landing Lew Alcindor with the No. 1 overall pick, the Bucks tabbed a little-known small forward out of a small, East-Coast school dwarfed by surrounding college basketball strongholds. Their homework yielded an “A+” far faster than even they might have expected. Dandridge not only broke into the starting lineup, but averaged 13.2 points per game in making the 1969-70 NBA All-Rookie Team. And he was no flash in the pain. He produced 18.4 ppg. during Milwaukee’s NBA Championship season in 1970-71, and proceeded to represent the Bucks in four NBA All-Star Games spanning 1973-76. He averaged 18.6 ppg. during his nine seasons in a Milwaukee uniform and ranks fourth on the team’s all-time scoring chart behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Glenn Robinson and Sidney Moncrief. He played in 618 games as a Buck, which place him third in team history behind just Junior Bridgeman and Sidney Moncrief.

4) Alex English (second round of 1976 NBA Draft, 23rd overall) – The ’76 draft saw the likes of Leon Douglas, Wally Walker and Armond Hill taken in the top 10. Chuckie Williams and Norman Cook were also chosen in the first round, and they never played 50 regular-season NBA games between them. So the Bucks did themselves proud when they snapped up the slender South Carolina forward in the second round. English averaged just 5.2 ppg. in limited rookie duty, but flashed potential as a sophomore, averaging 9.6 ppg. and shooting .545 from the field. He was logjammed behind Marques Johnson and David Meyers at forward, though, so he entered free agency. Thirteen seasons later, he retired with 25,613 points, which rank 14th all-time for NBA and ABA players combined. He is the Denver Nuggets’ franchise career leader in points and assists.

5) Marques Johnson (first round of 1977 NBA Draft, third overall) – The 1976-77 NBA Playoffs found the Bucks on the outside looking in for the second time in three seasons. The ’77 draft provided instant help, bringing them the No. 1, 3 and 11 overall selections in Kent Benson, Johnson and Ernie Grunfeld, who would return 22 years later to become their general manager. Johnson, though, was the prize catch of their big draft day. The dynamic UCLA forward was a high-impact pro from Day One. He averaged 19.5 ppg. and 10.5 rpg. to make the NBA All-Rookie Team, and earned NBA All-Star berths in five of the next six seasons. More importantly, he led the Bucks to the playoffs in each one of those years, and Milwaukee won five division championships during his seven years with the franchise. Johnson averaged 21 ppg. during his Bucks career, and stands fifth on the team’s career scoring list with 10,980 points.

6) Sidney Moncrief (first round of 1979 NBA Draft, fifth overall) – Just two years after hitting it big with their drafting of Marques Johnson, the Bucks did it again when they tabbed the Arkansas Razorbacks guard. Having joined Ron Brewer and Marvin Delph in leading coach Eddie Sutton’s team into the NCAA Final Four, Moncrief emerged as the best of the “Three Basketeers” by a wide margin at the NBA level. Though he averaged just 8.5 ppg. as a rookie, league coaches rewarded his all-around game with an NBA All-Rookie Second-Team selection. In the six subsequent seasons, he was a five-time NBA All-Star, a five-time NBA All-Defensive Team choice and a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year. He also averaged better than 20 ppg. in four different seasons with the Bucks. The 11,594 points he scored during his years in Milwaukee place him third in team history, and he ranks among the franchise’s career leaders in nine other categories.

7) Vin Baker (first round of 1993 NBA Draft, eighth overall) – When NBA teams draft American college players, rarely do they venture outside the wide range of the national spotlight to make a lottery pick. The Bucks were bold enough to do so in this draft, though, taking what some considered a reach for an intriguing, 6-11 forward from the University of Hartford, which has found basketball notoriety difficult to come by. Baker rewarded Milwaukee management’s confidence in him, averaging 13.5 points and 7.5 rebounds and making the NBA All-Rookie First Team. In his sophomore season, he upped his numbers to 17.7 ppg. and 10.3 rpg. and became the Bucks’ first NBA All-Star in four years. Baker earned two more All-Star selections and averaged 18.3 ppg. and 9.5 rpg. in four seasons with Milwaukee before being traded to Seattle.

8) Glenn Robinson ( first round of 1994 NBA Draft, first overall) – The 1993-94 Bucks scored a franchise-low 96.9 points per game, so when they won the NBA Draft Lottery, they made NCAA scoring champion and consensus National Player of the Year Glenn Robinson the first overall pick in the ’94 draft. The Purdue University sharpshooter not only filled Milwaukee’s scoring void, but over time helped the Bucks develop into one of the most prolific offensive teams in the league. He put up a team-best 21.9 points per game and made the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 1994-95, helped Milwaukee end a seven-year playoff drought in 1999, and was an NBA All-Star in each of the following two seasons. The Bucks not only made the playoffs in each of the next three seasons, but reached the Eastern Conference Finals in 2001. Through it all, Robinson kept racking up the points, becoming the club’s second all-time leading scorer with 12,010 points.

9) Michael Redd (second round of 2000 NBA Draft, 43rd overall) – Ernie Grunfeld, the Bucks’ general manager at the time, and his staff found themselves a proverbial hidden gem with their second-round discovery of Redd. The Ohio State University southpaw did not dazzle anyone immediately, playing a grand total of six games – 35 minutes – in his rookie season. But his tireless work ethic and dramatic improvement catapulted him to the pinnacle of the league’s overachievers list. Now entering his eighth NBA season, he is just one of seven NBA players ever to increase his scoring average in each of his first seven pro seasons. In his fourth year (2003-04), he was named an NBA All-Star, and has not averaged less than 21.7 points per game since. Looking back at Redd’s draft, when Darius Miles, DerMarr Johnson, Chris Mihm and Jerome Moiso were lottery picks and Dalibor Bagaric, Iakovos Tsakalidis and Mamadou N’diaye were also chosen ahead of him, Redd ranks as an all-time NBA find, let alone a Bucks prize. Both player and team plan on reaping many more rewards together.

10) Andrew Bogut (first round of 2005 NBA Draft, first overall) -- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bob Lanier, Jack Sikma and Moses Malone will go down in history somewhere among the NBA’s 15 or 20 most accomplished centers of all time. And Milwaukee is fortunate that each of those all-time greats played for the Bucks, though only Abdul-Jabbar spent more than five seasons here. Bogut made the NBA All-Rookie First Team and achieved significant improvement in most statistical categories in his second year. Just 22, the 7-foot Australian is already peerless among contemporary NBA centers at drawing charges and scoring with his off hand, and he has demonstrated the savvy and skills to become the best passer in the group as well. If Bogut is finally given the latitude, the guidance and the support to develop into the player he can be -- and if Bucks fans can ever accept him for being who he is and doing what he does -- he will earn a spot among his elite predecessors and the franchise will thrive accordingly. The guess here is that, with Larry Krystkowiak in the director’s chair, that scenario will begin to unfold this fall. So order your tickets now and be there to see it.

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