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 iconic Denver Nuggets of all time and why he was the true “one that got away,” Alex English.
Alex English was the 23rd selection in the 1976 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks (second round) out of South Carolina. According to basketball reference, English is the third best player in his class based on win-shares behind only Robert Parrish and Adrian Dantley.
English was an 8-time NBA All-Star, from 1982-1989. He is 20th on the all-time scoring list in the NBA, and was the scoring champion in 1983 with Denver. He was a 2nd-team All-NBA player three times, and has his number retired by the Denver Nuggets. He only averaged less than 10 PPG three times, his first two seasons (with the Bucks) and his final season, out of 16 total seasons. He has a similarity score to Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh.
CAREER SUCCESS AND “WHAT-IF’S”
Alex English, unlike some of the other higher-ranked players on this list, actually did play for the Bucks. Those were his two worst seasons of his NBA career, however, so it was somewhat easy to get rid of him. He was on some decent teams in the mid-70‘s with Marques Johnson, Brian Winters and Junior Bridgeman, but they didn’t really make noise until the 80‘s. Being behind Johnson, Winters, Bridgeman and Bob Dandridge, he really struggled and he and head coach Don Nelson wanted to move on.
He moved on to the Pacers, and seemingly thrived more in an expanded role. After a short stint there, he was traded to Denver, and stayed there for almost the entirety of his career. Some think if we kept him around, he could have been that missing piece in between Johnson and Sidney Moncrief in the 80‘s, but Don Nelson just didn’t see it in him at that point. Another what could have been, but at least he actually had a chance to play here unlike a few upcoming others.
In Denver, English held and still holds many Nuggets records, so he turned out to be a great player that the Bucks let slide. Looking at the Denver Nuggets (and check out the 1981 Nuggets’ logo OMG/ROFL), they were a team that constantly made the postseason, but never really advanced far aside from the 1985 season. They made the Western Conference Finals led mostly by English and Calvin Natt, only to lose to the Kareem/Magic Lakers that season. But I still think that is impressive of English to bring a team of nobody’s that far.
English is among the many, many “what could have been” players for the Bucks, but ultimately due to him actually playing for the team, it seems like he may be the ultimate version of that player. Had he stuck around with Sidney Moncrief, Johnson, Bridgeman, Winters, Terry Cummings, Ricky Pierce and others (not all at once), I bet we have a Final’s appearance and probably at least one NBA Championship. Many articles looking back on this clearly believe that English was the missing piece from this roster of extreme talent, and a scoring champion to a mix of diverse and great players, it’s no wonder he’s thought of that way.
How Many Times Do We Make the Finals in the 80’s With English?
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0, he’s not that good
1, he makes enough of a difference
2, he really was the missing piece
3+, he’s an all-time great put on teams with great players
So where does this legacy stand for him? He was an All-Time Denver great, another blunder by the Bucks, even though he never directly hurt us being in the Western Conference. It’s possible we might have won a few more series in the postseason, and it’s too bad Don Nelson let this one get away.
I’m sure many of you didn’t even know he was drafted by the Bucks, and he seems to be a forgotten NBA great due to hiding in some (somewhat) obscure Nuggets’ teams of the 80’s that were overshadowed (like everyone) by the Lakers. But, he’s a top-20 scorer all-time and a scoring champion, so he deserves recognition on this list for sure.
That’s it, Alex English in at number 8. Who’s next, based on total career, not just Bucks’ career? Not who’s best, remember, we’re counting up to number one?
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