You know what would be really, really sweet? If NBA 2K had a feature where you could play with a franchise’s all-time best players. For the past few seasons, 2K has given users the option to play with all-time great teams from specific seasons (85-86 Celtics, 95-96 Bulls, etc), but not the option to play with a franchise’s 12 best players, regardless of era, and combine them on one team.
The closest comparison for this, in the video game world, would be NCAA March Madness 2006 (the one with Raymond Felton on the cover). In March Madness 06, the option to unlock all-time conference teams (All-Big Ten, All-Pac Ten, All-CUSA) was available to users. Once unlocked, users could play with
Magic Johnson — err, PG. #32 — and he was obviously one of the best players in the game. I remember Magic being the only player in the game to have every single itemized feature — three-point icon, a golden lock for lockdown defense, a shot blocking hand, shoes with wings for mad hops and I’m forgetting the last one but I know there were five icons — and he would absolutely dominate. It also helped he was surrounded by legends of the Big Ten conference. I just remember the feature being incredibly addictive.
Now, although 2K probably won’t be installing this feature anytime soon, that hasn’t stopped us here at Today’s Fastbreak from creating all-time starting fives. And on the agenda today: the Milwaukee Bucks.
C – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Despite his career in Milwaukee only lasting six seasons, Kareem is still the franchise’s all-time scoring leader, amassing over 14,000 points. As unique a specimen as the NBA will ever see. Kareem holds the distinct honor of, upon entering the NBA, being the best basketball player in the world. Or in other words, prior to being drafted as a rookie, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — then known as Lew Alcindor — was already unequivocally the best player on the planet. We’ll probably never see something like that again.
Kareem also holds the distinct honor of bringing Milwaukee its lone championship in the 1970-71 season. He won a Finals MVP, three regular-season MVPs, Rookie of the Year and, most impressively, finished in the top five of MVP voting in each of his six seasons as a Buck. Throughout his career, Abdul-Jabbar was a model of consistency, but while in Milwaukee he played in a remarkable 467 games out of a possible 492 (95 percent). Overall, he is perhaps better known for the great team success he had with the Lakers, but the majority of Kareem’s tremendous personal success came in Milwaukee. Apologies to: Andrew Bogut and Bob Lanier.
PF – Vin Baker
Although short-lived, Baker’s four-year stint with the Bucks to begin his career was nothing short of monstrous. He averaged over 18 points, nearly 10 rebounds and three assists, and over a block in Milwaukee. Baker made two All-NBA teams, three All-Star teams and missed four (!!!) games total in four seasons. Baker went on to have the best season of his career in Seattle the year following his departure from Milwaukee, but soon after, his career took a deep spiral downwards.
There’s a great story circulating the web right now on Baker’s current living situation, which I’d highly recommend reading. At any rate, picking between Baker and Terry Cummings was like splitting hairs. You really couldn’t have gone wrong with either. Apologies to: Cummings.
SF – Glenn Robinson
Gotta be the Big Dog, right? He has the best raw statistics of his counterparts at this position. He comes out on top when you figure in the advanced metrics. The only area where Robinson’s stats don’t do him any favors are his playoff numbers. Although he only played in 39 playoff games, Robinson sees a slight dip in his shooting splits.
The tough thing, though, is the Bucks have a long and storied history. Which in turn, since I was born in 1991, means there’s a lot of great players whose footage I’ve seen so little of. I assume, going by the numbers, that Bob Dandridge and Junior Bridgeman were fine players; their statistics suggest as much. I just wish there were an NBA vault of sorts (similar to the WWE Networks’s vault) of archived footage from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. Alas, I still stick with the Big Dog nonetheless. Apologies to: Dandridge and Bridgeman.
SG – Ray Allen
Once upon a time, the greatest three-point shooter in NBA history could do things like this:
The choice here is a relatively simple one. Although, the Bucks, low key, have had some absolutely brilliant shooting guards over the years. Michael Redd and Jon McGlocklin (who didn’t have the three-point line, mind you) were lights-out shooters in their own right. Apologies to: Redd and McGlocklin.
PG – Sidney Moncrief
Apparently Moncrief’s nickname is The Squid (gonna need someone to fact-check Basketball Reference on that, please). He and I also share a birthday, so there’s that. Real talk though, Moncrief was a great player for half a decade, and a good one for all of his 10 seasons as a Buck.
He couldn’t shoot worth a lick, but that didn’t matter so much seeing as he won back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year awards in ’83 and ’84. Mind you, a point guard winning DPOY is probably something we’ll never see again. It’s hard enough for wing players, defensively, to earn mainstream respect in 2015. To go along with five All-Star selections, Moncrief might be one of the more under-heralded players of the last 30 years. Apologies to: Oscar Robertson and Sam Cassell.
Well, that’s all she wrote. Agree? Disagree? Drop a comment below and let me know what you think!