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Best Milwaukee Bucks Draft Picks: Number 5, Sidney Moncrief

Getting a Closer Look at Sidney’s Career, and What Could Have Been

2021 NBA Playoffs - Atlanta Hawks v Milwaukee Bucks
Moncrief Watchin g His Old Team

Hi Bucks’ fans! Welcome to the all-time top Bucks draft picks, power ranked by the fan’s yourselves. We are counting down all the way from #12 to #1, and today we are moving on to one of the most legendary Milwaukee Bucks to ever play, Sidney Moncrief.


Sidney Moncrief was the fifth selection in the 1979 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, from the University of Arkansas. According to basketball reference, Moncrief was the third best player in that year’s class based on win-shares, behind just Magic Johnson and Bill Laimbeer.


Moncrief was an All-NBA first team player in 1983, and made the 2nd team in the four seasons sandwiching that year. He was a five-time All-Star in those same seasons, and was also a four-time All-NBA defensive selection from 1983-86. In 1983 and 1984, he was the inaugural Defensive Player of the Year, and his number was retired by the Bucks. He is also in the NBA Hall of Fame after 11 seasons. His a similarity score is similar to that of Chauncey Billups and Gary Payton.


Thanks to input by our very own Van Fayaz, I was able to do some digging as to how the Bucks actually acquired Moncrief in the draft. Despite what the rumor may be, it was not via trade with the Pistons, which is how Moncrief is eligible for the list. Instead, Executive and Head Coach Don Nelson deceived the Detroit Pistons into taking someone that the Bucks never wanted. That player was Greg Kelser, out of Michigan State, and the Pistons panicked because they didn’t want to miss out on a homegrown talent and have him go to the Bucks. So, the Pistons took Kelser, and the Bucks ensured they got Moncrief. According to win shares, that move was a difference of 82 win-shares, meaning the Bucks got a much, much better player.


Moncrief is my highest ranked player on this list, who is retired and who has played the vast majority of their career as a Buck. He was in the NBA for 11 seasons, with injuries derailing the end of his career. Ten of his years were in Milwaukee with his 11th being in Atlanta. Moncrief never had any real “eye-popping” seasons offensively or statistically. He had a career high of 22.5 PPG, assists at 5.2, and never averaged more than 2 steals, but he was a solid constant for the great Bucks’ teams of the 80‘s. I don’t know how accurate this is because I haven’t seen him play, but I think of him as a better (or maybe equal) Jrue Holiday.

Moncrief had a spectacular five-year run with the Bucks from 1982-86, where he was an All-NBA and All-Defense player each of those seasons. He might have even been the reason the award started, because he was the player to win the first two Defensive Player of the Year awards. Every season from 1980-1987, Moncrief was part of teams that consistently won 50 games, and just could never get over the hump of the 76ers (mostly) and sometimes the Celtics. Once 1988 hit, Moncrief’s injury history caught up with him, and he started to fade. That was a main reason why the Bucks started to struggle more and fade into the late 80‘s/early 90‘s when the team started to be bad for a few decades.


Pick One to Have On Your Team

This poll is closed

  • 81%
    Sidney Moncrief
    (176 votes)
  • 16%
    Jrue Holiday
    (36 votes)
  • 1%
    Greg Kelser
    (3 votes)
215 votes total Vote Now


Because of the controversy of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as well as his time with the Lakers, and Oscar not having his entire career in Milwaukee, I think of Moncrief as the best retired “Buck” of all time. His 10 seasons are second most to only Michael Redd, and Giannis will tie him at 10 next season. Because of the Greek Freak, Moncrief being the “best retired Buck” will change in about a decade, but Moncrief is probably the second best player we ever hung onto from the start.

There you have it, Sidney Moncrief. Who’s next as we finish out the top four? Not who’s best, but who comes in fourth on the all-time list?


The Fourth Best Bucks’ Pick Was...

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
    (9 votes)
  • 6%
    Giannis Antetokounmpo
    (9 votes)
  • 24%
    Julius Erving
    (34 votes)
  • 62%
    Dirk Nowitzki
    (88 votes)
140 votes total Vote Now

This poll will close at 10 am central, June 17.