Bucks All-Time All-Star Rosters
We are doing this draft-style like the current All-Star Game format. Except the draft order is not being concealed. And everyone who played for the Bucks in these first 50 seasons is eligible.
First, the rules:
- Two teams will be drafted with the hypothetical idea that they would play each other in one three-game series, with Game 1 at the MECCA, Game 2 at the Bradley Center, and Game 3 (if necessary) at the new arena.
- The players actually care about wanting to win.
- Captains are easy choices: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the greatest player in franchise history, and Giannis Antetokounmpo, the future greatest player in franchise history.
- Kareem and Giannis are not aware that I am pretending to draft for them. They did not actually draft these teams. And I drafted based on what I thought they should do, not what I thought they would do.
- Each player can only be picked once; you can’t have different versions of the same player from different seasons. And you just get the prime version of each player, but it has to be when they played for the Bucks. For example, you don’t get Lakers Kareem or SuperSonics Gary Payton or Clippers Bobby Simmons.
- Since this is just for three games, you can pick Andrew Bogut in the Fear The Deer year and you will get him in his prime, and thus, in glorious pristine health. But once the game starts, he is Andrew Bogut, and is subject to all the things that it means to be Andrew Bogut in 2009–10.
- The setup of this series (being just three games) favors a peak rather than a long, consistent run with the Bucks. With that in mind, these are not necessarily all-time Bucks All-Star teams in the conventional sense.
- The first game will be played without the three-point line, and second and third games will be played with the three-point line. Threes were introduced in the 1979–80 season, so we are only being fair here. The first game will also be played with pre-three-point era rules across the board.
- There are not any player position designations. Want to play five-out? Three centers? All is fair game.
- Twelve-man rosters. Remember, the players are here to win, for franchise bragging rights. And they are human. And there are only so many minutes to go around. Do you want your 12th man to be a star-level player in case you need him in a pinch? Maybe you prefer to play it safe at the end of the bench with a locker room vet.
- Familiarity counts. Everything counts. Kareem might rightfully want to play with some of his championship teammates.
- Players are going at guys from different eras, but player abilities and strengths are based on their aptitude versus their era. What I mean to say is that the Oscar in this hypothetical is the guy averaging 19/8/5, not some lesser version based on the fact that humans have gotten better at basketball in the past 40 years. In that sense, think of it as video game player ratings brought to life.
- Giannis gets the first pick because he is not losing any damn Bucks fan vote.
On with the draft.
- Team Giannis Pick #1: Sidney Moncrief. Three reasonable possible choices here — all offensive dynamos — but Moncrief gets the nod on account of being the best perimeter defender in the league in his prime (the guy won the NBA’s first two Defensive Player of the Year Awards), which will come in handy against the offensive firepower on the other side.
- Team Kareem Pick #1: Marques Johnson. Although Kareem and Marques shared NBA courts for 11 seasons, and although they both played almost exclusively in Milwaukee and Los Angeles, they were never teammates. Now they are. Another thing they share in common, by the way? Both finished top-10 in MVP voting as rookies.
- Team Giannis Pick #2: Ray Allen. You want to surround Giannis with shooters? You want to surround Giannis with shooters. You want the (now-second) greatest shooter of all-time. Plus this Bucks version of Ray has hops.
- Team Kareem Pick #2: Oscar Robertson. Kareem and Oscar won the title in their first season together. They do well together. Bucks Oscar was not a league-leading scorer, but he was a league-leading assist man. That suits him well on this squad.
- Team Giannis Pick #3: Terry Cummings. Although Giannis excels at the four, Team Giannis is aware of positional scarcity at power forward and scoops up the best player on the board and will figure out lineups later.
- Team Kareem Pick #3: Michael Redd. Kareem gets his starting shooting guard and the best outside shooter he has ever played with, helping to give him space in the post. That will help Team Kareem keep up in Games 2 and 3 with the arc.
- Team Giannis Pick #4: Sam Cassell. Solid backup point behind Moncrief. Cassell’s game — and his deadly long two pull-ups — will fit in nicely in the Game 1 without the three-point line.
- Team Kareem Pick #4: Bob Dandridge. Another title-winning teammate of Kareem. High-efficiency scorer and tough defender.
- Team Giannis Pick #5: Andrew Bogut. No one is going to stop Kareem down low, but Bogut is the obvious choice to counter. And his relatively low-usage offensive game works well on a team packed with scorers. Given the remaining center options, couldn’t wait any longer and risk Team Kareem taking him.
- Team Kareem Pick #5: Paul Pressey. Great defense and great versatility across three positions makes Pressey a great fit off the bench.
- Team Giannis Pick #6: Glenn Robinson. TeamGiannis gets the third of the early-2000s Big 3 here, another shooter, and someone who could start at the three or cook off the bench.
- Team Kareem Pick #6: Vin Baker. Vincent Lamont Baker will start at the four and will not be getting double-teamed. With all due respect to Andrew Lang (who started 52 games at center alongside Baker during Baker’s best season with Milwaukee), Andrew Lang was not Kareem.
- Team Giannis Pick #7: Ricky Pierce. You won’t lose much scoring per minute going from Allen to Pierce. And you know the Sixth Man of the Year can do it off the bench.
- Team Kareem Pick #7: Bob Lanier. Kareem averaged 40+ minutes in each of his six seasons in Milwaukee, so Lanier wouldn’t necessarily need to be out there much, but when Marques is leading second units, Dobber would man the middle.
- Team Giannis Pick #8: Alvin Robertson. Electric, physical defender, and strong all-around player who would cause havoc defensively and not need to score much.
- Team Kareem Pick #8: Flynn Robinson. Perhaps a forgotten player among current fans, but Robinson was instant offense in his prime, averaging 21/5/3 while leading the league in free throw shooting in his best season. Team Kareem bringing back another former teammate.
- Team Giannis Pick #9: Khris Middleton. You figure one of Robinson and Middleton should have it going.
- Team Kareem Pick #9: Brian Winters. Winters played roughly half of his career before and roughly half after the introduction of the three-point line, and while he didn’t take a ton of threes, he shot them pretty well, and shot everything pretty well.
- Team Giannis Pick #10: Junior Bridgeman. First of all, The Torch is a wonderful nickname. Second of all, he was an efficient, excellent player on a 60-win team. He would fit in well.
- Team Kareem Pick #10: Jon McGlocklin. Some decades before true shooting percentage was a thing, McGlocklin was up there toward the top of the leaderboard. Impressive for a shooting guard, particularly without three-pointers to push up that number.
- Team Giannis Pick #11: Greg Monroe. That 2016–17 version of Monroe — the one that shot well, passed well, and defended surprisingly well — is a solid 12th man here to foul Kareem and go at Lanier.
- Team Kareem Pick #11: Jabari Parker. Gives Team Kareem — which trends toward the older-school guys — a bit of pop, if needed. Also, Jabari strikes me as someone who would enjoy the experience of time travel and playing with Kareem. Thought about going with someone to throw at Giannis here (Harvey Catchings? Curtis Perry? Elmore Smith? Larry Sanders?), since Baker/Jabari are brutal matchups, but quickly determined that no one in franchise history could guard Giannis. Going to have to stick Kareem on him.
Here is how I think it goes: Team Kareem takes a close Game 1 at the MECCA, Team Giannis roars back with a blowout victory at the BC in Game 2. Then, Giannis has the ball on a pass from Sid at the new arena in the decisive Game 3, down by one with 11 seconds left, guarded by Marques Johnson, with Ray Allen on to his side, and Kareem waiting for him in the paint, and Giannis drives…
C: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar / Bob Lanier
PF: Vin Baker / Jabari Parker
SF: Marques Johnson / Bob Dandridge / Paul Pressey
SG: Michael Redd / Brian Winters / Jon McGlocklin
PG: Oscar Robertson / Flynn Robinson
C: Andrew Bogut / Greg Monroe
PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo / Terry Cummings
SF: Glenn Robinson / Khris Middleton / Junior Bridgeman
SG: Ray Allen / Ricky Pierce
PG: Sidney Moncrief / Sam Cassell / Alvin Robertson