By Lorenzo Tanos
We'll get one of the trivia questions out of the way by saying that the Bucks are the fastest expansion team to win an NBA championship, when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson helped the Bucks to a franchise record 66-16 in the regular season and a 4-0 sweep of the Baltimore Bullets in the 1971 Finals. Since then, the Bucks have had mixed success, though they've had their share of star players come and go. Currently, they're in strong contention for an Eastern Conference playoff spot, though very far removed from the Kareem-Oscar years or Don Nelson's successful 1980s run.
1. True or False – The Bucks are Milwaukee's first and only NBA team.
False. From 1952 to 1955, the present-day Atlanta Hawks were based in Milwaukee, including the first year NBA Hall of Famer Bob Pettit played with the team.
2. Who was the Bucks' first-ever NBA Draft first-round selection?
Before Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) was drafted first overall in 1969 and transformed the Bucks' fortunes overnight, the Bucks were 27-55 in their inaugural season. Their first-ever first rounder was Charles Paulk, who averaged 23.8 ppg and 15.5 rpg for Northeastern Oklahoma State. The 6'8” forward/center averaged just 6.2 ppg in four NBA seasons.
3. Who were the Los Angeles Lakers players the Bucks received in the 1975 trade that sent Abdul-Jabbar to L.A. and several more championships?
The Bucks received four quality players in this deal – center Elmore Smith, forward Dave Meyers (the Lakers' draft pick, 2nd overall in 1975) and guards Brian Winters and Junior Bridgeman. The Bucks finished 38-44 with the new-look lineup, and that was, believe it or not, good enough to lead the Midwest Division in 1975-76 and take them to the Playoffs, where they lost in the first round to Bob Lanier and the Detroit Pistons.
4. And which of the four players above retired early in order to focus on his Jehovah's Witness faith?
It's easy to think of Dave Meyers as a bust, as he was picked second overall and played just four NBA seasons. But in his last two seasons, Meyers had put it together and was a quality starter at power forward for the Bucks, though not a star player. Meyers retired after the 1979-80 season at 26 so he could spend time with his family and concentrate on his faith. His career numbers – 11.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 2.3 apg.
5. How many times did Don Nelson win Coach of the Year while with the Milwaukee Bucks, and in what years?
Nellie's ideas may not fly too well in today's more cerebral, defensive-oriented basketball climate, but his up-tempo teams were fun to watch and, for the most part, quite successful. The Bucks won the Central Division title in both 1982-83 and 1984-85, and in those two seasons, Nelson was named NBA Coach of the Year. In 1983, the Bucks also became the only NBA team so far to sweep the Boston Celtics (with Bird, McHale and Parish, at that) in a postseason series.
6. Which Bucks center entered the NBA as a 25-year-old four-year college graduate in 1993 owing to his three-year post-high school stint as a Baton Rouge, LA supermarket employee?
Ervin Johnson (no, not the Magical one from L.A.) was all of 25 years old when the Seattle Supersonics picked him 23rd overall in 1993 out of the University of New Orleans. After a breakout season with Denver in 1996-97, Johnson went on to play six seasons with the Bucks, two of them as the team's starting center. He would return to the Bucks in 2005-06 at the age of 38, but hardly saw action on the court. He wasn't much of a scorer, but made his contributions count on rebounding and defense.
7. Who did the Bucks receive in return for Glenn "Big Dog" Robinson when the high-scoring forward was traded to Atlanta after spending his first eight seasons in Milwaukee?
Robinson was the Bucks' franchise player from the mid-‘90s to the early part of the 21st century, but didn't always get along with coaches and management. In return for the Big Dog, the Bucks got Toni Kukoc and a 2003 first-round pick. Kukoc was a shadow of his self as the championship Bulls' super sixth man, though still productive, while the 2003 first-rounder, T.J. Ford, was one of the league's fastest and most talented young point guards before injuries slowed him down and forced him to an early retirement.
8. Aside from being one of the 2008 NBA Draft's biggest flops, what else is Joe Alexander's claim to fame?
Alexander became the first Taiwanese-born NBA player when he debuted for the Bucks in 2008-09 as the eighth overall pick of that year's Draft. Born to American parents, Alexander spent most of his formative years in Asia, particularly Hong Kong and China.
We'd love to hear your comments and/or opinions. If you submit them here, other visitors can read them, rate them and comment on them. An e-mail address is not required.