For the upcoming Bucks season, I will be writing this “Friday Five” column detailing a different set of five players every week. These will range from current lineups, future lineups, top players by position, or all-decade lineups, like the one below.
During the last 16 years of Milwaukee Bucks history, it is fair to say that there has been a limited amount to cheer about. With only one appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals (2001), they have never been a force in the East, but there have been several players along the way worthy of noting. From the Big Three years, through the Fear the Deer era, and now into the Own the Future mantra, let’s check out what a starting lineup would look like for an All-2000s Milwaukee Bucks team.
Requirements: At least 3 years with the Bucks throughout the 2000s.
Point Guard: Sam Cassell
After being traded to Milwaukee in 1999, Cassell was everything the team could have hoped for in a point guard. With George Karl running the show, Sam completed a trio of Glenn Robinson, Ray Allen, and himself that lead the Bucks to some of their most successful seasons. Despite losing to the Allen Iverson-led Philadelphia 76ers in the Conference Finals, the Bucks were one game away from reaching the 2001 NBA Finals behind the play of Sam.
Shooting Guard: Michael Redd
To put it simply, Michael Redd was an All-Star in 2004. There has not been an All-Star in Milwaukee since. Once the back-up to Ray Allen, this former second round pick developed into an outstanding player with the Bucks. He had a very injury-riddled career, but still managed to average over 20 points per game in six different seasons. He is also an Olympic Gold Medalist, having won the basketball title for the USA in 2008.
Small Forward: Giannis Antetokounmpo
The “Greek Freak” might seem like a surprise entrant into this starting lineup, but there isn’t much else at the small forward position in the 2000s. Giannis has been a great source of hope these last few seasons, and we can certainly expect even more improvement moving forward. Many people would argue that Antetokounmpo could be an All-Star this season, but this list is all based on his past. He has brought very little success to this point, but his versatility and athleticism is what makes him such a special player.
Power Forward: Ersan Ilyasova
Ilyasova was never a flashy player for the Bucks, but he did a lot of things. At 6’10”, Ersan possessed a potent three-point shot that made him a very nice Stretch-4. With decent rebounding and scoring abilities, Turkish Thunder was a valuable starter for the Bucks for an extended period of time. He was never a great defender, but his value as a shooter cannot be underestimated.
Center: Andrew Bogut
The Bucks selected Bogut with the 1st Overall Pick in 2006, and although not a superstar, Bogut was a very serviceable player for the Bucks. Bogut suffered from some recurring injuries, but when healthy, he was a double-double guy who had a variety of post moves from which to work with. He started all but 8 games during his seven-year stretch with the Bucks and is still a very good center in the NBA.