Milwaukee, (a long-time middling franchise to be polite), has never been a destination city for attracting big name free agents, and rarely has Milwaukee even been in rumours to acquire top-end talent during the off-season frenzy. That’s why July 9, 2015, remains a landmark date in Bucks recent history, the day Greg Monroe chose Milwaukee.

After meeting with the Bucks and Portland Trailblazers, Monroe was heavily linked to the two biggest markets in the NBA. Both the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers were chasing his services and were probably shocked when the Cream City won the tussle.

A 3 year, 50 million dollar free agent contract was signed, the beginning of what was a rollercoaster two and a bit seasons in Milwaukee for the man they call Moose. I’m certain when Greg looks back at his time it probably didn’t pan out the way he thought it may, only lasting as the Bucks full-time starter for 67 games before being relegated to the second unit as Miles Plumlee, John Henson and Thon Maker have taken turns at attempting to lock down the job.

It wasn’t necessarily the fact that Monroe didn’t reach expectations, in my opinion he certainly did that, averaging 18.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per 36 minutes across 165 appearances for the deer. The game simply changed. Monroe is an old school, back to the basket, work in the post type player with a vast array of swift moves to get himself points in the paint. Since his rookie season in 2010/11, the average three point attempts per team a game has risen from 18.0 to currently sit at 28.9. Only one team averaged over 100 possessions per game back then, Minnesota (100.4), now all but eight teams top 100 possessions per game.

Last season, Monroe averaged 1.94 seconds per touch, ranking sixth in the league amongst eligible centers, and 5.6 post up attempts per game, ranking in the top 10 amongst centers despite only playing 22.5 minutes per game. Don’t get me wrong, Monroe is extremely effective at what he does, it just became difficult to pair him with Giannis in lineups and not have the offense falter.

Monroe had some truly memorable performances for the Bucks and i’d like to recap three of his finest:

  • December 7, 2015 v Portland.

In just his 22nd game as a Buck Monroe went to work against the Blazers tallying 16 points, 12 rebounds and three assists.

The game was hotly contested throughout and the Bucks went into the fourth down 60-62. In came Moose with 3:39 left on the clock in the 4th with Milwaukee now trailing 79-75 to replace John Henson. Still trailing 87-88 with 15 seconds left, Monroe gained possession on a jump ball, and swiftly gave the rock to MCW. With Ed Davis moving up to help CJ Mcollum on Carter-Williams, Moose ducked to the hole and received the drop off pass and finished in traffic to put the Bucks up for good 89-88 with 5.1 seconds remaining.

  • December 12, 2015 v Golden State.

You knew this one was getting a mention. The 24-0 Golden State juggernaught rolled into the Bradley Center fresh off an overtime victory in Boston the night before. As usual the opportunity to see Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and former Buck Andrew Bogut brought in a raucous Saturday night crowd, sporting 24-1 shirts, desperate to see a streak busting performance.

 Milwaukee led for almost the entire night, stunning the Warriors 108-95. Golden State simply had no answer for Monroe who went off for 28 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists in a complete, game winning performance. 11 of those points came in the fourth quarter to cap off a memorable, memorable night.

  • April 15, 2017, Game 1 Eastern Conference First Round @ Toronto.

A stunning and unexpected late season 20-10 surge by Milwaukee propelled them to the Eastern Conference’s 6th seed, and a series with the Toronto Raptors. Game one on the road presented a daunting task for the young Bucks, who severely lacked playoff experience in one of the more intimidating arenas to play, Toronto’s Air Canada Center. 20,133 fans were silenced early and never really played a part in the contest as Milwaukee stunned the Raptors 97-83, in the process launching themselves right into the series.

Monroe was as physical as ever, refusing to get pushed around on the glass and providing the presence the Bucks needed in a Playoff environment, tallying 14 points, and 15 rebounds as Milwaukee were +15 when he was on the floor. Milwaukee eventually ended up going down in a heartbreaking game 6 loss in Milwaukee with Monroe doing all he could, finishing with averages of 13.2 points and 7.3 rebounds in only 23.5 minutes per game.

Through his stint in Milwaukee, it has been obvious to all Bucks fans that Moose was a much loved teammate and great friend of the players on the roster. He was always getting around with a smile on his face, high-fiving and dancing at timeouts, encouraging the guys, and would always be the first to back up his fellow Bucks when the time called.

His time in Milwaukee has come to an end sooner then I imagined it would, as I watched the introduction press conference back in July of 2015. But it was a whole heap of fun, through the ups and downs, Moose was entertaining. I personally want to wish Greg well for the future, as I’m sure all Milwaukee fans do, and you never know, maybe we will see you back in a Bucks jersey before your career is all said and done.

All the best Moose, may your voice be heard screaming annnndddddd-onnneeeeeeeeee!!! for many years to come.

Follow Kane Pitman on twitter: @mkebucksaus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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