Milwaukee Bucks

Sun, 01 Feb 2009 10:48

History of Milwaukee Bucks

Information about NBA team Milwaukee Bucks.

The Milwaukee Bucks are a National Basketball Association (NBA) franchise that entered the league as an expansion team. Based in Milwaukee Wisconsin, the team currently plays its home games at the Bradley Center in Eastern Conference. Although the team has been relatively successful in the NBA, much of their success came during their early years, in the 1970s and 80s. Up to the end of the 2007-08 season, the Milwaukee Bucks have won a total of 13 Division titles, two Conference titles, and one NBA Championship title. The team colors of the Milwaukee Bucks are deep red, silver, and hunter green.

Milwaukee Bucks – rough start, but early success

Like most expansion teams, the Milwaukee Bucks would have a difficult first season. The team only had 27 wins, losing 55, and ending the regular season with a near-33% winning percentage. Everything would change after the 1969 NBA Draft, when the Bucks selected Lew Alcindor, who came from UCLA. Lew Alcindor literally turned things around for the Bucks as he helped them to a 56-26 record, which was a complete turn-around over the previous season's 27-55 record. Needless to say, the Bucks' great record earned them a spot in the Playoffs. The team was able to beat Philadelphia in the Division Semifinals, but they could not overcome New York in the Division Finals.

In the 1970-71 season, Lew Alcindor would get some help from Oscar Robertson, another NBA legend who would bring veteran experience and leadership to the Bucks. Alcindor and Robertson led the Bucks to their best season in franchise history. The team won 66 games and set a winning percentage of over 80%, which is the NBA's 11th-highest single-season winning percentage of all-time. Once again, the team made it into the Playoffs and, this time around, they would not be denied the Championship title. Milwaukee beat San Francisco 4-1 in the Conference Semifinals and bowled-over Los Angeles 4-1 in the Conference Finals. The Bucks would face Baltimore in the NBA Finals, but Baltimore proved to be no challenge as the Bucks won the 1971 NBA Finals 4-1. Until today, the 1971 title stands as the only NBA Championship title held by the Bucks. Lew Alcindor changed his name to the better-known Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1971.

Looking for a repeat in the 1971-72 season, the Bucks had another great record of 63 wins and 19 losses. The team ended-up losing to Los Angeles Lakers in the Conference Finals. In the 1973 Playoffs, the Bucks lost in the first round of the Conference Semifinals to Golden State. The Bucks were frustrated, but they were able to make another strong push for a second NBA Championship title in the 1973-74 season. With a regular season record of 59 wins and 23 losses, the Bucks cruised into the Playoffs and beat Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago to make it to the NBA Finals for the second time in franchise history. Unfortunately, the Bucks would lose to the Boston Celtics after a hard-fought, seven-game series. Oscar Robertson retired from professional basketball in 1974.

Milwaukee Bucks – Kareem's departure

In the 1974-75 season, the Bucks would post their first sub-50% winning percentage since their inaugural 1968-69 season. The team failed to make it to the Playoffs and they would trade their best player, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, to the Lakers before the start of the 1975-76 season. In return for trading Kareem, the Bucks acquired Junior Bridgeman, David Meyers, Brian Winters, and Elmore Smith, four players who would help the team in the 70s and the 80s. While the Bucks were able to make it to the 1976 Playoffs, they were eliminated in the First Round by Detroit.

In the following season, Milwaukee would miss the Playoffs with a disappointing 30-52 record. The Bucks showed some hope in the 1978 Playoffs, when they beat Phoenix in the First Round. Denver would prove to be too much, though, as they eliminated Milwaukee from the Playoffs in a 4-3 Conference Semifinals series. The Bucks missed the 1979 Playoffs, which prompted the management to make a few more changes to their lineup. In 1979, the Bucks acquired Bob Lanier, a veteran center that the Bucks hoped could fill-in Kareem's role. Lanier gave the Bucks some of his best years as a player and he helped the Bucks get back into the Playoffs.

Milwaukee Bucks – the frustrating 80s

The Milwaukee Bucks made it to the NBA Playoffs in every season between 1979 and 1991. The 1980 Playoffs, would mark the first of 12 consecutive Playoffs appearances by the Bucks. In the 1980, 1981, and 1982 Playoffs, the Bucks would get eliminated in the Conference Semifinals. Finally, in 1983, the team beat the Boston Celtics 4-0 in the Conference Semifinals to move on to the Conference Finals for the first time since 1974. Unfortunately, Philadelphia would eliminate them from the Playoffs for the third consecutive season. In 1984, the Bucks were able to beat Atlanta and New Jersey to face Boston in the Conference Finals. Boston ended the Bucks' season by winning four games to one in the Conference Finals series.

Philadelphia and Boston would continue to frustrate the Milwaukee Bucks as the two teams would continue to eliminate the Bucks from the Playoffs throughout the 80s and in the early 90s. In the 1985 Playoffs, Philadelphia beat the Bucks 4-0 in the Conference Semifinals. One season later, the Bucks beat Philadelphia in the Conference Semifinals only to lose to Boston 4-0 in the Conference Finals. Boston would knock the Bucks out of the Playoffs once again in the 1987 NBA Conference Semifinals. In the 1988 Playoffs, Atlanta beat Milwaukee in the First Round, but the Bucks got their revenge by beating Atlanta in the First Round of the 1989 Playoffs. Detroit erased the Bucks from the 1989 Playoffs with a Conference Semifinals series score of 4-0. The Bucks were eliminated by the Chicago Bulls in the First Round of the 1990 Playoffs. Then, in 1991, Philadelphia would beat the Bucks in the First Round 3-0 to put an end to the 12-season Playoffs streak.

Milwaukee Bucks – Ray Allen's arrival

After losing to Philadelphia in the 1991 Playoffs, the Bucks would not make it into the Playoffs again until 1999, with the help of Ray Allen. In 1996, the Bucks acquired Ray Allen, who is considered today as one of the best shooters in NBA history. It took Allen a while before he got adjusted to the NBA and to his teammates. Once Allen developed and matured as a player, he helped the team to four Playoffs appearances. The 1999 Playoffs would be the first time that the Bucks would make it into the Playoffs with Ray Allen. Indiana defeated the Bucks in the First Round of the Playoffs and, in the 2000 Playoffs, Indiana eliminated the Bucks in the First Round once again.

Ray Allen continued to mature into a veteran player and, in the 2001 Playoffs, he would lead the team to their first Conference Finals appearance since 1986. Philadelphia would end the Bucks' run for the Championships by defeating the Bucks in a 4-3 series. In the following season, the Bucks failed to make it to the Playoffs, despite a record of 41 wins and 41 losses. The team would make it back into the Playoffs in 2003, but they would be eliminated in the First Round by New Jersey. Ray Allen was traded to the Seattle Supersonics in 2003.

Milwaukee Bucks – after Ray Allen

The Milwaukee Bucks have only been to the Playoffs twice since Allen's departure, once in 2004 and again in 2006. On both occasions, the Bucks were eliminated by Detroit Pistons 4-1 in the First Round. In the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons, the Bucks failed to make it to the Playoffs, but the team is currently seeking to rebuild itself into a championship contender once again. As of December 19, 2008, the Bucks have a 2008-09 season record of 11 wins and 16 losses.