50 Best Bucks Player Seasons Of All-Time: 25-1

by Alex Boeder
Bucks.com Writer

This is a story (arriving in three parts; read part one here) about the 50 best seasons by Bucks players out of 818 seasons by anyone who (has thus far) played a minute in franchise history. That means Jerald Honeycutt and Roko Ukic were considered.

For the purposes of these rankings, this is the 50 best seasons. So, regular seasons and postseasons are combined. Why look at these things separately?

This is a list of the best individual seasons, so players are not penalized for a barren supporting cast. That said, the best players in their best seasons typically carry their team to wins. So team performance, like everything else, is a reflection, a factor.

We have the benefit now of looking at advanced stats that did not exist during most of these 50 years. We have the difficulty of comparing across eras, especially tough when you consider that the 3-point line did not debut until 1979, and that steals and blocks were not tracked until 1973. Having never watched anyone play live before 1990 adds another challenge (for me). Was it easier to become an All-Star and make the playoffs when there were fewer teams and players in the league (and fewer people playing basketball in the world)?

Injuries and partial seasons befell some of the most promising campaigns, such as Glenn Robinson averaging a career-high 23.4 points in 56 games in 1997–98, and Michael Redd averaging a career-high 26.7 points in 53 games in 2006–07. There is no hard rule for how many games a player needs to play to make the list, but when you are up against the best seasons ever, it is hard to do enough (short of something extraordinary) to stack up in fewer than 60 games.

The goal is to rank the 50 best seasons with as much context (era, rules, teammates, and so on) as possible. To rank based on how much value each player provided the Bucks during that season.

Here's the list from #25-1:

25. Bob Dandridge (1970–71)

Regular Season
G:
79
PPG:
18.4 RPG: 8.0 APG: 3.5
SPG: N/A BPG: N/A
FG%: .509 3PT%: N/A FT%: .702 TS%: .545
PER: 16.9 WS: 9.5

Playoffs
G:
14
PPG: 19.2 RPG: 9.6 APG: 3.4
SPG: N/A BPG: N/A
FG%: .463 3PT%: N/A FT%: .782 TS%: .501
PER: 17.9 WS: 1.8

Honors: NBA Champion

Team: 66–16in regular season (1st of 17 teams), 4–1 win over Warriors in Western Conference Semifinals, 4–1 win over Lakers in Western Conference Finals, 4–0 win over Bullets in Finals

Resume: Not “just” the third best player on the championship team, but indeed the third best player on the championship team, a dominant team even by title-winning standards. This was his breakout year in the regular season (his second year in the league), going from 13 points to 18 points, and shooting what remained a career-best percentage from the field (.509), which ranked seventh in the league that year. And then he broke out even more in the playoffs, culminating in what may have been his best playoff performance in six postseason runs with the Bucks.

Game of Note: Led all scorers with 34 in a 151–99 (151!) win over the Bullets in the regular season. The eventual Finals sweep of the Bullets is no surprise when you consider that the Bucks beat them by 52 in this game (and took four out of five in the regular season series). Yeesh.

24. Sam Cassell (2000–01)

Regular Season
G:
76
PPG:
18.2 RPG: 3.8 APG: 7.6
SPG: 1.2 BPG: 0.1
FG%: .474 3PT%: .306 FT%: .858 TS%: .542
PER: 20.1 WS: 8.5

Playoffs
G:
18
PPG: 17.4 RPG: 4.6 APG: 6.7
SPG: 1.1 BPG: 0.2
FG%: .396 3PT%: .333 FT%: .866 TS%: .490
PER: 15.3 WS: 1.2

Honors: N/A

Team: 52–30 in regular season (7th of 30 teams), 3–1 win over Magic in Eastern Conference First Round, 4–3 win over Hornets in Eastern Conference Semifinals, 4–3 loss to 76ers in Eastern Conference Finals

Resume: Cassell was the rare inverse, getting better as he got on in years. He came to Milwaukee and at age 30, here in his second season with the Bucks, put up what was probably his best season to date (a few years later at age 34 in Minnesota, he made his lone All-Star appearance, and not coincidentally helped lead the Timberwolves to their best season in franchise history). By relative offensive rating, this was the second-best offensive team in franchise history (bettered only by the 1970–71 championship team), and Cassell was the engine.

Game of Note: Down 3–2 (following three straight losses) to the Hornets in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Cassell went to Charlotte and picked up the Bucks with 33 points (on just 16 field goal attempts) and 11 assists to give them a win (and push the series to a Game 7, which the Bucks won).

23. Marques Johnson (1983–84)

Regular Season
G:
74
PPG:
20.7 RPG: 6.5 APG: 4.3
SPG: 1.6 BPG: 0.6
FG%: .502 3PT%: .154 FT%: .709 TS%: .534
PER: 19.4 WS: 8.6

Playoffs
G:
16
PPG: 20.3 RPG: 5.3 APG: 3.4
SPG: 1.1 BPG: 0.4
FG%: .473 3PT%: .250 FT%: .722 TS%: .518
PER: 15.4 WS: 1.2

Honors: N/A

Team: 50–32 in regular season (4th of 23 teams), 3–2 win over Hawks in Eastern Conference First Round, 4–2 win over Nets in Eastern Conference Semifinals, 4–1 loss to Celtics in Eastern Conference Finals

Resume: Just another season of 20/6/4, in his final year in Milwaukee. putting up very similar offensive numbers across the board as teammate Sidney Moncrief. Hopped into the top 10 (ninth) in Defensive Win Shares for the only time in his career, as the Bucks ranked second in the league in defensive efficiency. Famously assumed point forward responsibilities in the playoffs under Don Nelson, and had a good run before falling to Larry Bird and the eventual champion Celtics.

Game of Note: Went for 22/11/9 along with four steals and three blocks to cruise to a win over Joe Barry Carroll and the Warriors.

22. Michael Redd (2005–06)

Regular Season
G:
80
PPG:
25.4 RPG: 4.3 APG: 2.9
SPG: 1.2 BPG: 0.1
FG%: .450 3PT%: .395 FT%: .877 TS%: .574
PER: 21.2 WS: 10.8

Playoffs
G:
5
PPG: 27.2 RPG: 5.4 APG: 1.6
SPG: 0.8 BPG: 0.0
FG%: .524 3PT%: .467 FT%: .891 TS%: .652
PER: 28.4 WS: 0.8

Honors: N/A

Team: 40–42 in regular season (17th of 30 teams), 4–1 loss to Pistons in Eastern Conference First Round

Resume: Best season of his career (better overall than his 2003–04 All-Star season). Scored from everywhere, got to the line a ton (6.3 makes per game), hit threes (two makes per game), and carried the offense — he literally scored more than twice as many points as second-leading scorer Bobby Simmons — while rarely turning the ball over. And while the Bucks were never going to steal the series from the 64-win Pistons in the first round, Redd put up 41 on them in a regular season game and put up another 40 in a playoff win, part of a standout first round individual performance.

Game of Note: About that: Scored 40 in 34 minutes to carry the Bucks to a Game 3 home win against the defending Eastern Conference champion Pistons in the first round.

21. Ray Allen (1999–00)

G: 82
PPG:
22.1 RPG: 4.4 APG: 3.8
SPG: 1.3 BPG: 0.2
FG%: .455 3PT%: .423 FT%: .887 TS%: .570
PER: 20.6 WS: 10.1

Playoffs
G:
5
PPG: 22.0 RPG: 6.6 APG: 2.6
SPG: 1.6 BPG: 0.0
FG%: .444 3PT%: .385 FT%: .909 TS%: .552
PER: 22.7 WS: 0.7

Honors: All-Star

Team: 42–40 in regular season (15th of 29 teams), 3–2 loss to Pacers in Eastern Conference First Round

Resume: Supplanted Glenn Robinson as the leading scorer for the first time, and became the star in Milwaukee, and an All-Star, too. Although already a feared shooter in his first three seasons, raised the bar significantly with what was then a career-best 42.3 % from long range. Despite falling 96–95 in Indiana in the deciding Game 5 of the first round, Allen played Reggie Miller evenly (arguably outplayed him, if anything) during the series in what was a passing-of-the-best-outside-shooter-torch moment (although, remember, Jesus Shuttlesworth was a lot more than an outside shooter, as White Chocolate pictured here can attest to).

Game of Note: Went for 36 points (including 12–18 from the field and 5–7 on threes) in a win in Utah against Karl Malone and the 55-win Jazz.

20. Marques Johnson (1982–83)

Regular Season
G:
80
PPG:
21.4 RPG: 7.0 APG: 4.5
SPG: 1.3 BPG: 0.7
FG%: .509 3PT%: .200 FT%: .735 TS%: .543
PER: 21.1 WS: 10.7

Playoffs
G:
9
PPG: 22.0 RPG: 8.0 APG: 4.2
SPG: 0.9 BPG: 0.8
FG%: .486 3PT%: .000 FT%: .651 TS%: .511
PER: 18.0 WS: 1.1

Honors: All-Star

Team: 51–31 in regular season (6th of 23 teams), 4–0 win over Celtics in Eastern Conference Semifinals, 4–1 loss to 76ers in Eastern Conference Finals

Resume: Johnson dominated in a first round thrashing (four-game sweep with wins by an average of 11.5 points) of the 56-win Celtics, and while the Bucks then fell 4–1 to the 76ers for a chance to get to the Finals, they were the only team to win even a single game (thanks to a near triple-double from Johnson) against Moses Malone, Julius Erving, and company during that postseason. In the regular season, he was a top-20 scorer in the league while setting a career-high in assist percentage.

Game of Note: Can’t pass up the 33/9/6 line he put to complete the sweep of MVP Larry Bird and the favored Celtics in round one.

19. Sidney Moncrief (1984–85)

Regular Season
G:
73
PPG:
21.7 RPG: 5.4 APG: 5.2
SPG: 1.6 BPG: 0.5
FG%: .483 3PT%: .273 FT%: .828 TS%: .565
PER: 20.1 WS: 11.2

Playoffs
G:
8
PPG: 23.0 RPG: 4.3 APG: 5.0
SPG: 0.6 BPG: 0.5
FG%: .556 3PT%: .400 FT%: .933 TS%: .697
PER: 19.9 WS: 1.4

Honors: All-NBA 2nd Team, All-Defensive 1st Team, All-Star

Team: 59–23 in regular season (3rd of 23 teams), 3–1 win over Bulls in Eastern Conference First Round, 4–0 loss to 76ers in Eastern Conference Semifinals

Resume: Paired with fellow All-Defensive 1st Team pick Paul Pressey to help form the second-best defense in the league. Set a career-high with 5.2 assists while scoring the second-most points of his career (21.7 per game). Helped lead the Bucks to 59 wins, tied for fourth-most in franchise history. Finished eighth in MVP voting (just behind Michael Jordan and Bernard King, and just ahead of Isiah Thomas and Ralph Sampson). Also played Michael Jordan quite evenly in a 3–1 series win in the first round.

Game of Note: Triple-double (21/11/11) in Seattle with a couple blocks, a steal, and a win.

18. Terry Cummings (1984–85)

Regular Season
G:
79
PPG:
23.6 RPG: 9.1 APG: 2.9
SPG: 1.5 BPG: 0.8
FG%: .495 3PT%: .000 FT%: .741 TS%: .536
PER: 22.1 WS: 10.7

Playoffs
G:
8
PPG: 27.5 RPG: 8.8 APG: 2.5
SPG: 1.5 BPG: 0.9
FG%: .577 3PT%: .000 FT%: .828 TS%: .630
PER: 22.6 WS: 1.2

Honors: All-NBA 2nd Team, All-Star

Team: 59–23 in regular season (3rd of 23 teams), 3–1 win over Bulls in Eastern Conference First Round, 4–0 loss to 76ers in Eastern Conference Semifinals

Resume: If (like me) your memories of Terry Cummings as a Buck only date back to that one random season in 1995–96, then you never had the pleasure of watching the All-Star version of Cummings more than a decade prior. Which is too bad, because that 23 year-old Cummings finished fifth in MVP voting, just behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (who at age 37 was still up there) and just ahead of rookie Michael Jordan (who at age 21 was already averaging 28/6/6). This was his first and best season in Milwaukee, after being traded along with Craig Hodges and Ricky Pierce in exchange for Marques Johnson, Junior Bridgeman, and Harvey Catchings. Cummings took over as lead scorer from Sidney Moncrief in the regular season and then poured in almost 30 a game in a 3–1 win first round win over the aforementioned Jordan and the Bulls.

Game of Note: After taking out Jordan, the Bucks were swept by the 76ers (who won 58 in the regular season compared to 59 for the Bucks), in spite of Cummings going for 41/12/4 (along with three steals in a block) in Game 2.

17. Marques Johnson (1979–80)

Regular Season
G:
77
PPG:
21.7 RPG: 7.4 APG: 3.5
SPG: 1.3 BPG: 0.9
FG%: .544 3PT%: .222 FT%: .791 TS%: .585
PER: 22.0 WS: 11.5

Playoffs
G:
7
PPG:
19.9 RPG: 6.9 APG: 2.9
SPG: 0.7 BPG: 0.9
FG%: .422 3PT%: .333 FT%: .750 TS%: .477
PER: 14.6 WS: 0.8

Honors: All-NBA 2nd Team, All-Star

Team: 49–33 in regular season (7th of 22 teams), 4–3 loss to SuperSonics in Western Conference Semfinals

Resume: After dropping their season opener, the Bucks rolled to 10 wins in a row, the first three by 24+ points. That was the start to making the playoffs every single season of the 1980s, and Johnson was central to the first five of those years. If you are looking for a modern-day statistical comparison (based on points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, PER), prime Paul George is about as close as it gets. Beyond those traditional numbers, the comparison gets tougher: George made 195 threes last season, and Johnson made two (out of nine attempts) in this first NBA season with the 3-point line. Threes or not, Johnson piled up numbers, and that included 49 wins.

Game of Note: Scored 34 in October in Phoenix to give the Bucks a win over a 55-win Suns.

16. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1974–75)

Regular Season
G:
65
PPG:
30.0 RPG: 14.0 APG: 4.1
SPG: 1.0 BPG: 3.3
FG%: .513 3PT%: N/A FT%: .763 TS%: .550
PER: 26.4 WS: 12.9

Playoffs
N/A

Honors: All-Defense 1st Team, All-Star

Team: 38–44 in regular season (12th of 18 teams), missed playoffs

Resume: Fifth in MVP voting. Led the league in PER (26.4). Led the league in blocks per game (3.3) and made the All-Defense 1st Team. But he missed 17 games, and the Bucks missed the playoffs (falling from 59 wins the previous season to 38, coinciding with Oscar Robertson’s retirement) in his final season in Milwaukee. And so this, number 15, is the lowest ranking of his six Milwaukee seasons.

Game of Note: Put up 50/15/11 (along with a steal and three blocks) in a comeback win over the Trailblazers. Kareem hit 14–16 at the line too, in what was his best season at the stripe to date.

15. Sidney Moncrief (1985–86)

Regular Season
G:
73
PPG:
20.2 RPG: 4.6 APG: 4.9
SPG: 1.4 BPG: 0.2
FG%: .489 3PT%: .320 FT%: .859 TS%: .604
PER: 20.0 WS: 11.7

Playoffs
G:
9
PPG: 16.9 RPG: 4.6 APG: 4.9
SPG: 0.6 BPG: 0.6
FG%: .426 3PT%: .286 FT%: .698 TS%: .508
PER: 13.0 WS: 0.4

Honors: All-NBA 2nd Team, All-Defensive 1st Team, All-Star

Team: 57–25 in regular season (3rd of 23 teams), 3–0 win over Nets in Eastern Conference First Round, 4–3 win over 76ers in Eastern Conference Semifinals, 4–0 loss to Celtics in Eastern Conference Finals

Resume: The final season of prime Moncrief saw him finish seventh in MVP voting (one spot behind a second-year Charles Barkley). And what a prime. This made six straight seasons with 50+ wins (after jumping from 38 wins to 49 with him as a rookie). The Bucks would make it seven straight hitting 50 wins the next season, with Moncrief, and then reach 50 wins once in the next 30 seasons. Of course, Sid was not a one-man team this season or any of the others, but the individual numbers (and they were still piling up in 1986) were the most meaningful kind, because they were what made the Bucks so consistently good — and this was the best offensive team judged by relative offensive efficiency of all of those great 1980s Bucks teams. The Bucks nabbed a rare playoff series win over the 76ers (hurray) before being swept out of the playoffs (oh) by one of the best teams in league history, the 67-win Celtics.

Game of Note: More of a steady 20/5/5 almost every night as opposed to a few standout statistical games, but hanging 31/5/7 in a win over a good Pistons team will do.

14. Marques Johnson (1978–79)

Regular Season
G:
77
PPG:
25.6 RPG: 7.6 APG: 3.0
SPG: 1.5 BPG: 1.2
FG%: .550 3PT%: N/A FT%: .760 TS%: .586
PER: 23.9 WS: 12.2

Playoffs
N/A

Honors: All-NBA 1st Team, All-Star

Team: 38–44 in regular season (14th of 22 teams), missed playoffs

Resume: Johnson’s most overwhelming statistical (regular) season, in just his second year in the league, at age 22. Ranked third in the league in points per game (behind George Gervin and World B. Free) and led everyone in Offensive Box Plus/Minus, long before the latter stat existed. Averaged a career-high 5.7 free throw attempts per game and put up 25+ points per game in the final NBA season without a 3-point line (not that he used it much once it was introduced anyway). The Bucks were significantly better than that 38–44 record shows (their Pythagorean record of 47–35 was seventh best in the league), but nonetheless that was their record and they missed the playoffs.

Game of Note: Dropped 40 in a 120–114 victory over 50-win Suns in Milwaukee in December, out-gunning Paul Westphal (36 points).

13. Sidney Moncrief (1981–82)

Regular Season
G:
80
PPG:
19.8 RPG: 6.7 APG: 4.8
SPG: 1.7 BPG: 0.3
FG%: .529 3PT%: .071 FT%: .817 TS%: .601
PER: 20.1 WS: 13.4

Playoffs
G:
6
PPG: 15.3 RPG: 5.0 APG: 4.0
SPG: 1.5 BPG: 0.3
FG%: .419 3PT%: .000 FT%: .789 TS%: .507
PER: 13.1 WS: 0.4

Honors: All-NBA 2nd Team, All-Defensive 2nd Team, All-Star

Team: 55–27 in regular season (4th of 23 teams), 4–2 loss to 76ers in Eastern Conference Semifinals

Resume: Broke into the top-10 of MVP voting for the first time (of five times) in his career, finishing seventh, just ahead of a fellow third-year player named Magic Johnson (and two spots ahead of a 34 year-old Kareem). Also earned All-NBA and All-Defensive team honors for the first time, for the best (statistically) Bucks defensive unit of the decade. Led the team in points, rebounds, and assists and was the best defensive player on that third-ranked defensive team in the league. Not quite able to carry the Bucks past what would become their all-too-common playoff foil (the 76ers) in the playoffs.

Game of Note: How about 39/4/6 on 16–19 shooting from the field in a win in Cleveland? That is how you shoot efficiently as a guard without shooting from beyond the arc (Moncrief made one 3-pointer all season).

12. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1969–70)

Regular Season
G:
79
PPG:
28.8 RPG: 14.5 APG: 4.1
SPG: N/A BPG: N/A
FG%: .518 3PT%: N/A FT%: .653 TS%: .552
PER: 22.5 WS: 13.8

Playoffs
G:
10
PPG: 35.2 RPG: 16.8 APG: 4.1
SPG: N/A BPG: N/A
FG%: .567 3PT%: N/A FT%: .733 TS%: .608
PER: 29.4 WS: 2.6

Honors: All-NBA 2nd Team, All-Defensive 2nd Team, All-Star, Rookie of the Year, All-Rookie 1st Team

Team: 56–26 in regular season (2nd of 14 teams), 4–1 win over 76ers in Eastern Division Semifinals, 4–1 loss to Knicks in Eastern Division Finals

Resume: As a rookie, bumped the Bucks from 27 wins the previous season without him to 56 wins with him. As a rookie, a well-deserved third place finish in MVP voting. After that regular season, as a rookie, led the team to a playoff series win and then was the leading scorer in four out of five games against MVP (and eventual Finals MVP) Willis Reed. Averaged more than 35 per game in the playoffs, a number he would never top, and in fact, a number that only four players (Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Michael Jordan, LeBron James) have ever topped (minimum 10 playoff games) in a postseason.

Game of Note: In a series-closeout win, in his first playoff series ever, dropped 46 on the 76ers.

11. Sidney Moncrief (1983–84)

Regular Season
G:
79
PPG:
20.9 RPG: 6.7 APG: 4.5
SPG: 1.4 BPG: 0.3
FG%: .498 3PT%: .278 FT%: .848 TS%: .591
PER: 19.8 WS: 12.7

Playoffs
G:
16
PPG: 19.1 RPG: 6.9 APG: 4.3
SPG: 1.8 BPG: 0.6
FG%: .518 3PT%: .250 FT%: .791 TS%: .610
PER: 18.0 WS: 2.0

Honors: Defensive Player of the Year, All-NBA 2nd Team, All-Defensive 1st Team, All-Star

Team: 50–32 in regular season (4th of 23 teams), 3–2 win over Hawks in Eastern Conference First Round, 4–2 win over Nets in Eastern Conference Semifinals, 4–1 loss to Celtics in Eastern Conference Finals

Resume: Made it back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year awards here (and the first two in the history of the award). Finished eighth in MVP voting. Ferocious and smart on both sides of the ball, he ranked third in the league in free throws made (the most by a Bucks player in a season to date) and led the smothering, second-best defensive team in the NBA. Dazzled in the first two rounds of the playoffs before falling to the eventual champion Celtics in an all-time Bird/McHale/Parish year.

Game of Note: Just 38/8/12 along with three steals and merely one turnover in 53 minutes in an overtime win over the Clippers, outdoing Terry Cummings (23/16), who would become his teammate the next season as part of a blockbuster trade.

10. Oscar Robertson (1970–71)

Regular Season
G:
81
PPG:
19.4 RPG: 5.7 APG: 8.2
SPG: N/A BPG: N/A
FG%: .496 3PT%: N/A FT%: .850 TS%: .563
PER: 19.6 WS: 12.4

Playoffs
G:
14
PPG:
18.3 RPG: 5.0 APG: 8.9
SPG: N/A BPG: N/A
FG%: .486 3PT%: N/A FT%: .754 TS%: .533
PER: 21.1 WS: 2.3

Honors: NBA Champion, All-NBA 2nd Team, All-Star

Team: 66–16in regular season (1st of 17 teams), 4–1 win over Warriors in Western Conference Semifinals, 4–1 win over Lakers in Western Conference Finals, 4–0 win over Bullets in Finals

Resume: Nevermind the age-32 thing: Robertson remained an all-around superstar just three years after leading the league in both scoring and assists. In his first year in Milwaukee, the Bucks jumped from 56 wins to a league-crushing 66 wins (the Knicks had the second-best record with 52 wins), and The Big O had a hand in about them all, playing 95 of the 96 games in the regular season and playoffs combined. Ranked third in the league in assists, as Kareem’s ultimate co-star. Finished fifth in MVP voting and then played even better in the postseason.

Game of Note: Game-high 30 points (on 11–15 from the field and 8–9 from the line) along with nine assists to complete the sweep in Game 4 of the Finals in Baltimore.

9. Marques Johnson (1980–81)

Regular Season
G:
76
PPG:
20.3 RPG: 6.8 APG: 4.6
SPG: 1.5 BPG: 0.5
FG%: .552 3PT%: .000 FT%: .706 TS%: .583
PER: 22.0 WS: 11.2

Playoffs
G:
7
PPG:
24.7 RPG: 9.4 APG: 4.9
SPG: 1.4 BPG: 1.0
FG%: .556 3PT%: .000 FT%: .719 TS%: .580
PER: 27.7 WS: 1.4

Honors: All-NBA 2nd Team, All-Star

Team: 60–22 in regular season (3rd of 23 teams), 4–3 loss to 76ers in Eastern Conference Semifinals

Resume: Bumped up his playmaking (career-high 4.6 assists, which trailed only Quinn Buckner’s 4.7 on the team) while remaining a premier scorer for an elite team (60 wins, tied for third-most in franchise history) and a great offense (second-best offense in the league). The East was home to the three best teams in the NBA (Celtics, Bucks, 76ers) and the Bucks outscored the 76ers in their seven-game series loss in the second round, and had split the regular season series with the champion Celtics (a team with two more wins but a worse point differential in the regular season). In short, the Bucks were a lot closer to a championship than their second round defeat shows. No matter, Johnson remained dynamite in the playoffs, leading the postseason with that 27.7 PER.

Game of Note: Capped that fantastic postseason with 36 points in the season-ending one-point Game 7 loss in Philadephia in the second round.

8. Sidney Moncrief (1982–83)

Regular Season
G:
76
PPG:
22.5 RPG: 5.8 APG: 3.9
SPG: 1.5 BPG: 0.3
FG%: .524 3PT%: .100 FT%: .826 TS%: .602
PER: 22.6 WS: 13.2

Playoffs
G:
9
PPG:
18.9 RPG: 6.7 APG: 3.7
SPG: 2.0 BPG: 0.3
FG%: .437 3PT%: .000 FT%: .754 TS%: .503
PER: 15.4 WS: 0.9

Honors: All-NBA 1st Team, All-Defense 1st Team, Defensive Player of the Year, All-Star

Team: 51–31 in regular season (6th of 23 teams), 4–0 win over Celtics in Eastern Conference Semifinals, 4–1 loss to 76ers in Eastern Conference Finals

Resume: Won the very first Defensive Player of the Year award this season (and followed it up with another the next year). And did a lot more than dominate on defense, finishing third in the league in free throws made to help get to that career-high 22.1 points per game average. Advanced stats also look back kindly: Moncrief ranked ninth in the league in PER, second in offensive Win Shares, and first Offensive Box Plus/Minus. He also finished fourth in MVP voting behind Moses Malone, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson (and just ahead of Julius Erving) and then led the Bucks to within a series of the Finals.

Game of Note: In a win in Portland (against the 46-win Trailblazers), made 8–10 field goals and 17–18 free throws on the way to 33 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists.

7. Ray Allen (2000–01)

Regular Season
G:
82
PPG:
22.0 RPG: 5.2 APG: 4.6
SPG: 1.5 BPG: 0.2
FG%: .480 3PT%: .433 FT%: .888 TS%: .610
PER: 22.9 WS: 13.7

Playoffs
G:
18
PPG:
25.1 RPG: 4.1 APG: 6.0
SPG: 1.3 BPG: 0.6
FG%: .477 3PT%: .479 FT%: .919 TS%: .613
PER: 23.7 WS: 3.6

Honors: All-NBA 3rd Team, All-Star

Team: 52–30 in regular season (7th of 30 teams), 3–1 win over Magic in Eastern Conference First Round, 4–3 win over Hornets in Eastern Conference Semifinals, 4–3 loss to 76ers in Eastern Conference Finals

Resume: Before 2000–01, only 10 times in history of the league had a player made 200+ 3-pointers in a season (Mookie Blaylock twice, Tim Hardaway, George McCloud, Reggie Miller, Glen Rice twice, Mitch Richmond, Dennis Scott, John Starks). Last season alone (in 2017–18), 12 guys hit that mark. Allen hit 202 from long range in 2000–01, and he went on to make 200+ five times in his career. He currently tops the all-time 3-point makes leaderboard, but if you only remember the threes and his Celtics days, you missed the all-around force that was Allen in Milwaukee (he led the NBA in Offensive Win Shares this season, for example). This was his fifth straight season playing every single game, and he was never better than in his final full season with the Bucks. A spectacular postseason run could (/should) have included a trip to the Finals (and a date with the Lakers, against whom the Bucks went 2–0, as the non-fiction story goes), save for some, um, questionable calls.

Game of Note: Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the 76ers. Allen went for 38/6/6, including 7–11 on threes and zero turnovers in the win against MVP Allen Iverson in Philadelphia.

6. Giannis Antetokounmpo (2016–17)

Regular Season
G:
80
PPG:
22.9 RPG: 8.8 APG: 5.4
SPG: 1.6 BPG: 1.9
FG%: .521 3PT%: .272 FT%: .770 TS%: .599
PER: 26.1 WS: 12.4

Playoffs
G:
6
PPG:
24.8 RPG: 9.5 APG: 4.0
SPG: 2.2 BPG: 1.7
FG%: .536 3PT%: .400 FT%: .543 TS%: .563
PER: 21.9 WS: 0.7

Honors: All-NBA 2nd Team, All-Defense 2nd Team, All-Star

Team: 42–40 in regular season (13th of 30 teams), 4–2 loss to Raptors in Eastern Conference First Round

Resume: Became the first player in league history to finish in the top-20 overall in points (14th), rebounds (15th), assists (18th), steals (9th), and blocks (5th). And anyone who watched Giannis (hopefully everyone) saw that he never got numbers at the expense of his team. If anything, he played like someone who did even more than what his numbers showed. Comparisons to Kareem are tough, not only because most of us watching Giannis never saw Kareem play, but also, for instanc,e because Kareem may well have finished in the top-20 in all five of those same stats during one of his best Bucks seasons back before the league started tracking steals and blocks. No matter, Giannis did do it. He did about everything.

Game of Note: Like so: Giannis was the best player on the court — for either team — at just about everything on New Year’s Eve 2016 when he dropped 35 points, nine rebounds, eight assists, two steals, and seven blocks (in 40 minutes). Makes for a good representation of his season.

5. Giannis Antetokounmpo (2017–18)

Regular Season
G:
75
PPG:
26.9 RPG: 10.0 APG: 4.8
SPG: 1.5 BPG: 1.4
FG%: .529 3PT%: .272 FT%: .760 TS%: .598
PER: 27.3 WS: 11.9

Playoffs
G:
7
PPG:
25.7 RPG: 9.6 APG: 6.3
SPG: 1.4 BPG: 0.9
FG%: .570 3PT%: .286 FT%: .691 TS%: .620
PER: 26.5 WS: 1.4

Honors: All-NBA 2nd Team, All-Star

Team: 44–38 in regular season (15th of 30 teams), 4–3 loss to Celtics in Eastern Conference First Round

Resume: In the year after winning Most Improved Player, took another massive step, as he does, entering the highest-scoring stratosphere (top five in the league) while not compromising any efficiency (top five PER). All while averaging the second-most minutes in the league. Then, equaled or surpassed most of his regular season averages in the playoffs, against the number one defense in the NBA (the Celtics). And, rated as one of the dozen best defensive players in the league, at least.

Game of Note: Put up 44 (on 17–23 shooting), including the game-winning steal and subsequent and-one with seconds to play against the Blazers, with MVP chants ringing.

4. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1972–73)

Regular Season
G:
76
PPG:
30.2 RPG: 16.1 APG: 5.0
SPG: N/A BPG: N/A 
FG%: .554 3PT%: N/A FT%: .713 TS%: .580
PER: 28.5 WS: 21.9

Playoffs
G:
6
PPG:
22.8 RPG: 16.2 APG: 2.8
SPG: N/A BPG: N/A 
FG%: .428 3PT%: N/A FT%: .543 TS%: .447
PER: 17.7 WS: 0.5

Honors: All-NBA 1st Team, All-Star

Team: 60–22 in regular season (2nd of 17 teams), 4–2 loss to Warriors in Western Conference Semifinals

Resume: Second in the league in points (30.2), fourth in rebounds (16.1), and first in PER (28.5). Finished second in MVP voting behind Dave Cowens of the Celtics despite scoring roughly 10 points more per game, pulling in almost the same number of rebounds, and accumulating more assists, all while shooting much better from the field (55.4 percent to 45.2 percent). In other words, should have won MVP. The Celtics won 68 games compared to 60 for the Bucks (tied for third-most in franchise history), but that does not close the gap. Both players fell earlier than expected in the playoffs,with Kareem posting the least great postseason numbers of his prime as the Bucks fell in the first round. When you reach the level of Kareem, imperfection is the critique.

Game of Note: How about that 44/28/7 line (on 19–27 shooting from the field) he put up against the Pistons a few days after Christmas in 1972? Crazily, he had a number of similar-looking box scores.

3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1973–74)

Regular Season
G:
76
PPG:
27.0 RPG: 14.5 APG: 4.8
SPG: 1.4 BPG: 3.5
FG%: .539 3PT%: N/A FT%: .702 TS%: .564
PER: 24.4 WS: 18.4

Playoffs
G:
16
PPG:
32.2 RPG: 15.8 APG: 4.9
SPG: 1.3 BPG: 2.4
FG%: .557 3PT%: N/A FT%: .736 TS%: .583
PER: 28.3 WS: 4.7

Honors: MVP, All-NBA 1st Team, All-Defensive 1st Team, All-Star

Team: 59–23 in regular season (1st of 17 teams), 4–1 win over Lakers in Western Conference Semifinals, 4–0 win over Bulls in Western Conference Finals, 4–3 loss to Celtics in Finals

Resume: In terms of straight-up regular season offensive numbers, you could make the case that he was slightly better in 1972–73. But his defensive credentials (received his first All-Defensive 1st Team selection, which happened to coincide with the first season that the league tracked steals and blocks) and postseason performance tips the scale here. Following up another MVP regular season, Kareem was the best player in the playoffs, a run that was almost perfect (notably dominant in 4–1 and 4–0 series wins against the Lakers and Bulls, respectively) until the Bucks lost Game 7 of the Finals in Milwaukee.

Game of Note: In Game 2 of the second round against the Bulls, Kareem put up 44 points (on 20–29 shooting from the field) and 21 rebounds along with three blocks, while playing all 48 minutes. And the Bucks won by two (to go up 2–0), so they needed all 44.

2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1971–72)

Regular Season
G:
81
PPG:
34.8 RPG: 16.6 APG: 4.6 
SPG: N/A BPG: N/A 
FG%: .574 3PT%: N/A FT%: .689 TS%: .603
PER: 29.9 WS: 25.4

Playoffs
G:
11
PPG:
28.7 RPG: 18.2 APG: 5.1
SPG: N/A BPG: N/A 
FG%: .437 3PT%: N/A FT%: .704 TS%: .462
PER: 22.4 WS: 1.6

Honors: MVP, All-NBA 1st Team, All-Star

Team: 63–19 in regular season (2nd of 17 teams), 4–1 win over Warriors in Western Conference Semifinals, 4–2 loss to Lakers in Western Conference Finals

Resume: Arguably his best regular season, not only with the Bucks, but of his career, and we are talking about one of the five or six greatest players ever. Kareem led the league averaging a career-high 34.8 points and posted a career-best and league-best PER (29.9). His 25.4 Win Shares are the most ever, by anyone, in any season. The 63 wins are the second-most in franchise history. The reason this does not quite take the overall top spot is that the postseason is factored, and unlike the previous year, he did not quite carry the Bucks to a title. Which is not to say that Kareem was not dominant in the playoffs — he averaged 33.7 points on Wilt Chamberlain (1st Team All-Defense Wilt, that is) in their 4–2 loss to the 69-win Lakers in the Western Conference Finals (a series in which the Bucks outscored the Lakers by 14 points, by the way).

Game of Note: Dropped 55 points on the Celtics (easily the best team in the East that regular season) in a 120–104 win in December. Kareem went for 55, 51, 45, 43, and 30 in five games against Boston.

1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1970–71)

Regular Season
G:
82
PPG:
31.7 RPG: 16.0 APG: 3.3
SPG: N/A BPG: N/A 
FG%: .577 3PT%: N/A FT%: .690 TS%: .606
PER: 29.0 WS: 22.3

Playoffs
G:
14
PPG:
26.6 RPG: 17.0 APG: 2.5
SPG: N/A BPG: N/A 
FG%: .515 3PT%: N/A FT%: .673 TS%: .548
PER: 25.3 WS: 3.3

Honors: NBA Champion, MVP, All-NBA 1st Team, All-Defensive 2nd Team, All-Star

Team: 66–16in regular season (1st of 17 teams), 4–1 win over Warriors in Western Conference Semifinals, 4–1 win over Lakers in Western Conference Finals, 4–0 win over Bullets in Finals

Resume: Won the first of his six MVPs (most ever by a player), in the most runaway fashion of them all, garnering more than 85 percent of first-place votes. Won the scoring title (31.7), led the league in PER (29.0) and Win Shares (22.3), and finished third in rebounds (16.0). After establishing himself as unquestionably the greatest basketball player in the world (in his second year in the league, is all) during the regular season, all he did in the playoffs was lead the Bucks to a 12–2 record including a Finals sweep to give the Milwaukee their first (and only, so far…) championship.

Game of Note: Scored 53 points in a 132–129 victory in Boston Garden in January. Also not bad: Went for 31 points and 17 rebounds on 13–16 shooting from the field (and 5–5 at the line) in Game 1 of the Finals.

 

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