By Jake McCormick
The last 10 years of Milwaukee Bucks basketball have followed a success arc similar to former point guard Damon Stoudamire. When Stoudamire broke into the league as a Toronto Raptor, he won the Rookie of the Year award and averaged 20 points and nine assists in two and a half years in Canada. After a trade to Portland, Stoudamire’s role diminished and he never topped his career highs in assists, points, and rebounds again.
The 2000-01 Bucks won 52 games and came within one game of the NBA Finals, but the team has only managed one season above .500 (42-40, 2002-03) and two seasons at the Mason-Dixon line since then. Despite their best efforts, the Bucks made the playoffs in three years and fizzled out faster than a reality show contestant’s fame.
After two 50 loss seasons and a near miss with 48 last year, GM John Hammond and Scott Skiles have seemingly started to get back to the future of the decade’s early glory. But because of the Bucks’ recent 1-4 skid, bringing their current record to 8-7, I think it would be appropriate to relive the highs of the last 10 years through an honorary all-decade team. Hopefully, it helps Brandon Jennings and a close to fully healthy cast (Andrew Bogut comes back tonight, and Michael Redd and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute are just around the corner) take on three divisional opponents in the next four games.
Keep in mind, the 2000s have NOT been especially good to the Milwaukee Bucks. But if you’re reading this, you probably know that already.
Milwaukee Bucks All-Decade Team
It’s too early to put Brandon Jennings here, so the obvious choice is Cassell. He holds the fifth spot in total assists as a Buck and second in assists per game. I wonder if anyone still owns a Sam Cassell jersey?
Allen was money for the Bucks in the early 2000s, plain and simple. He was the only reason (and a bit of K.G.) I was OK with watching the Boston Celtics buy a championship.
One of the Big Three from 2000-01 and one of three easy choices to round out this list. Robinson is second in Bucks history in total points and first in defensive rebounds, although he surely wasn’t known for his defensive prowess.
Thomas was a budding player for his first two seasons in a Milwaukee uniform, and many players (Ray Allen, for one) have said that Thomas could’ve been the best player in the league if he applied himself. Milwaukee has relied more on guards than post players to carry the team, and Thomas is the closest thing to the four position that contributed for more than three years.
Bogut has steadily increased his rebounding totals since his rookie year in 2005, and if healthy, can average close to 20 points and 10 rebounds every night. Bogut won’t be Dwight Howard anytime soon, but he has clearly been the best center in beer town over the past decade.
Bucks All-Decade Second Team
Even though Williams’ time in Milwaukee was short lived, he spent two of his four years as a Buck averaging over 17 points and six assists per game. Williams’ is doing just fine as a Cleveland Cavalier and can attribute much of his development to Milwaukee.
Jennings has only been around for a few games, but it’s clear he is taking the fast track to becoming a team leader and franchise cornerstone for many years. With Redd out, coach Scott Skiles has ran some double point guard rotations with Jennings and Luke Ridnour on the court together, so I figured this would be appropriate for the all-decade team.
Redd was the only consistent scorer throughout the darkest days of the decade, and has averaged 20.4 ppg as a Buck. It has yet to be determined if Redd’s best days are behind him, but it’s hard to argue against a guy that dropped 57 points in a game to set a franchise single-game record.
I wish I didn’t pick a guy that played his best as a Buck in his contract year, but Villanueva is second in a very slim pool of choices. Averaging 16.2 points and 6.7 rebounds last year is definitely a respectable number for a role player.
If you can find a better argument for Dan Gadzuric, Joel Pryzbilla, or Scott Williams I would love to hear them. Magloire averaged a near double-double in 2005-06 and was a part of that below .500 playoff team. That’s all I got.