Over the next several weeks, I’ll be breaking down the starting point guards for every team in the Central division. The first team on the docket is the Milwaukee Bucks. So let’s talk about the Milwaukee Bucks greatest point guards of all-time.
There have been a number of dynamic PG’s in Milwaukee’s storied history, and I’ll make sure they all get mentioned. But there can only be one #1. The best starting point guard in Bucks history is…
The Big O. Oscar Robertson gets the nod for helping lead the team to a championship.
Milwaukee Bucks Greatest Point Guards: Oscar’s First Year in Milwaukee
Oscar Robertson was the first overall pick by the Cincinnati Royals in the 1960 NBA Draft. After spending 10 years there, he was traded to Milwaukee during the 1970 offseason for a pair of lesser-known players. And as soon as he got to Milwaukee, everything fell into place.
Oscar teamed with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to form one of the best tandems in the NBA. Playing in the West back then, they beat the Warriors in five games, including a 50-point series-clinching win. They beat the Lakers in five, all four of their wins coming by double-digits.
The Bucks went on to sweep the Bullets in the finals, with Oscar averaging 24-5-10, while hitting over 50% of his shots. He and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (27-19-3) were unstoppable against Baltimore. They just couldn’t be slowed.
Robertson averaged 19-5-8 during the regular season en route to making it to his eleventh All-Star game in a row. He shot nearly 50% from the floor and 90% from the foul line.
Milwaukee Bucks Greatest Point Guards: The Next Three Years
Robertson played only four years for the Milwaukee Bucks, and they were the last four of his storied NBA career. His scoring and assist totals would slip in each of the successive seasons, but he was still an effective floor general, capable of handling 35-38 minutes per game.
Led by the late Larry Costello, Milwaukee won 63, 60 and 59 games respectively. This was a team that deserved a lot of respect, as the talent they had was truly incredible. You never wanted to have to face off with them, but well, you couldn’t avoid it.
Milwaukee would lose in all three rounds of the playoffs in these campaigns. Once in the conference semis, once in the conference finals, and they ultimately couldn’t overcome Boston in the 73-74 NBA Finals. They snuck out of Boston Garden with a 102-101 win in game 6.
But game 7, the final of Oscar’s career, they fell apart in the fourth quarter. Boston outscored Milwaukee 31-21 in the fourth quarter, entering the period with a five-point lead. The 102-87 loss was a cruel end to The Big O’s storied NBA run.
He posted just six points (2-13 FG), but dished out 11 assists in 46 minutes. And that was all she wrote. The Bucks have not made it to the Finals since then. 47 years.
Milwaukee Bucks Greatest Point Guards: Brandon Jennings and Sam Cassell
When he was drafted in 2009, the expectations for Brandon Jennings weren’t too high. He was expected to come in and be a playmaker and a winner. When he scored 55 points in the sixth game of his career, he had already exceeded any of the prior expectations.
Brandon peaked during the lockout-shortened 2011-12 year, when he averaged 19 points and six assists per game. He guided them to one playoff appearance, they were swept by LeBron’s Miami Heat.
Jennings would be dealt to Detroit following the 2012-13 year, in exchange for Brandon Knight and an unknown player named Khris Middleton, who was included only for salary purposes.
The other point guard we can’t ignore is Sam Cassell. He was traded to Milwaukee from New Jersey as part of a convoluted three-team deal at the trade deadline in 1999. He had played in just eight regular-season games that year, but still started in the postseason for his new club.
Cassell was consistently scoring in the high-teens and dishing around six-to-nine assists per game during his time with the Bucks. He was the starting point guard in the 2000-01 team that lost to the 76ers in a thrilling conference finals.
During his five years in Milwaukee, Cassell averaged 19 points, four rebounds, and seven assists per game. He started in 32 playoff games. At the end of the 02-03 year though, he was traded to Minnesota. He was part of the only Timberwolves team to ever reach the conference finals.
Milwaukee Bucks Greatest Point Guards: Honorable Mentions
The three point guards mentioned above are without a doubt the three best in Bucks history. Oscar takes the top spot, while Cassell and Jennings fight for the #2 slot. There are several point guards who would rank higher, if they had just played more in Milwaukee.
Gary Payton and Terrell Brandon were very effective during their short tenures with the Bucks. Eric Murdock is a bit of an unknown, but he did average 14 points and seven assists in 245 appearances as a Buck.
TJ Ford and Ramon Sessions had some good moments here, too. Mo Williams averaged 14-4-6 during a four-year-run in Milwaukee.
Malcolm Brogdon could have fought for the top spot, had he only stuck around. Let’s see if Jrue Holiday can make a push to join the list in the coming years.