Truman's Twelve, Part II
Who Gets The Ball?
The spinning, game-winning shot Monta Ellis dropped on the Houston Rockets on the night of Feb. 27 will no doubt be a featured scene when the Milwaukee Bucks put together their 2012-13 season highlight reel.
Though Ellis’ shot would have been a great reward for Bucks faithful had it taken place at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, it may have created a safety hazard there. The trajectory of Ellis’ shot was so high that it may have knocked icicles off the building’s rafters onto the celebration below.
One could page through the annals of Bucks history and be hard-pressed to find a better candidate to have launched such a shot. Ellis needed all of his athleticism and improvisational skills to not only react quickly enough to get in position to receive the pass, but step away from the defense, pivot on a dime, vault himself high enough into the air to get the ball over 6-foot-9-inch Chandler Parsons and finally put enough touch on the shot to send it through the net.
If you were appointed head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks and could call upon any member of the Bucks’ all-time roster (in his Bucks prime) to go one-on-one with a game on the line, have the explosiveness and/or guile to get himself a shot and possess the touch and the nerves of steel to make it, who would it be?
In the second installment of a series, “Truman’s Twelve” presents the second half of the dozen players Truman Reed would draft to get the job done.
Which players would you choose?
The former DePaul University standout became the second overall pick in the 1982 NBA Draft by the San Diego Clippers and emerged as the 1982-83 NBA Rookie of the Year, averaging 23.7 points and 10.4 rebounds per outing. Milwaukee acquired Cummings in a 1984 deal that also sent Ricky Pierce and Craig Hodges to the Bucks in exchange for Marques Johnson, Junior Bridgeman, Harvey Catchings and cash. The 6-9 forward quickly established himself as a go-to guy, mixing a potent, mid-range jump shot with post moves to average a team-leading 23.6 points per game in his first season with the team. “T.C” represented the Bucks in the NBA All-Star Game in 1985 and 1989 and scored 9,290 points in his six seasons with Milwaukee.
The Bucks were in dire need of a scorer as they entered the 1994 NBA Draft holding the No. 1 overall pick, and they chose the Purdue University All-American, who was the first player to lead the Big Ten Conference in scoring (30.3 ppg) and rebounding (11.2 rpg) since 1978 and became the consensus national player of the year. The 6-7 forward averaged 21.9 points per game to pace all NBA rookies and was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team. “The Big Dog,” during the course of his eight seasons with the Bucks, rang up 12,010 points to become the second-leading scorer in franchise history, averaging between 20.2 and 23.4 points a game seven times. He made back-to-back NBA All-Star Game appearances in 2000 and 2001 and was selected for the 1996 U.S. Olympic Basketball Team, but was unable to play due to injury.
Allen was a first-team All-American at the University of Connecticut in 1995-96 and left the program as the Huskies’ third-ranking all-time scorer with 1,922 points. The 6-5 guard entered the NBA as the fifth overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves, but was traded to Milwaukee for the draft rights to Stephon Marbury, who was the fourth selection in the same draft. Allen emerged as a second-team NBA All-Rookie Team pick, averaging 13.9 points a game and shooting .393 from 3-point range. His best season with Milwaukee came in 2000-01, when he averaged 22 points per outing, won the 3-point Shootout during NBA All-Star Weekend, earned an All-NBA Third Team selection and helped the team reach the Eastern Conference Finals. The NBA’s all-time leader in 3-pointers made, Allen totaled 9,681 points during his seven Bucks seasons (19.6 ppg) and ranks ninth all-time among the franchise’s scorers.
Redd, the top scorer at The Ohio State University for three consecutive seasons, was chosen by Milwaukee in the second round of the 2000 NBA Draft with the 43rd overall selection, which is touted as one of the great draft-day steals of all time. Redd played only six games in his NBA rookie season, but developed his body and his game and became one of the team’s most potent offensive weapons. He improved his point production in each of his first seven NBA seasons – a feat accomplished by only one other player in league history. He played in the 2004 NBA All-Star Game and was named All-NBA Third Team that season and averaged a career-best 26.7 points per outing in 2006-07. He racked up 11,554 points in 11 seasons with Milwaukee, becoming the team’s fourth-ranking scorer of all-time, and shot .383 from 3-point range.
Ellis scored a mind-boggling 4,167 points during his career at Lanier High School in Jackson, Miss., and finished as the second-leading scorer in Mississippi history. He averaged 38.4 points a game as a senior in 2004-05 and was named all-state for a fourth straight year, Parade Magazine High School Player of the Year and a McDonald’s All-American. Ellis bypassed college for the 2005 NBA Draft and was taken by the Golden State Warriors in the second round with the 40th overall pick. Through his first seven NBA seasons, Ellis scored 8,457 points, averaging a career-high 25.5 points a game for Golden State in 2009-10. He has averaged over 20 points a game in four of the last five seasons. Ellis came to the Bucks in a March 14, 2012 trade with Golden State that sent Andrew Bogut to the Warriors. The explosive 6-3 guard leads the 2012-13 Bucks in scoring at 19 points a game, and has stepped up his output to 26 ppg in March.
Cassell came to Milwaukee in a March 11, 1999 four-team trade from New Jersey and joined Robinson and Allen to form the “Big Three” that carried the team to the 2001 NBA Eastern Conference Finals. The wily point guard averaged 18.6 points per game in his first full season with the Bucks and bumped his average to 19.7 ppg in both 2001-02 and 2002-03. Cassell, always considered a clutch shooter, continued to fill that role with Milwaukee. A master of pump-faking to draw fouls, he shot .866 from the free-throw line, leading the team in free throws made in three of four seasons and totaled 5,939 points during his five -year Bucks career.
Who is on your list? Leave it in the comments below.