Milwaukee Bucks: Ranking the 10 greatest seasons in franchise history

MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 26: (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 26: (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images) /
7 of 13
BOSTON – 1984: (Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images)
BOSTON – 1984: (Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images) /

7. 1983-84 season

50-32, lost 4-1 in Conference Finals

The Bucks continued where they had left off in the previous season when the 1983-84 campaign got underway.

Anchored by Moncrief, the Bucks went from one of the NBA’s best defenses to the league’s undisputed No.1. As the Bucks’ guard went on to claim his second successive Defensive Player of the Year award, Milwaukee led the league in points allowed per game.

With Moncrief and Johnson’s scoring averages both taking a slight hit, the Bucks’ offense fell even further, though, landing 12th in offensive rating and 18th in points per game out of 23 teams.

For as skilled as Moncrief and Johnson both were as scorers, the Bucks lacked a truly elite scorer in the mold of the players many of their rivals possessed at a time when Julius Erving, Larry Bird, and soon Michael Jordan were setting the Eastern Conference alight with their scoring chops.

By the time the playoffs came around, the Bucks could at least be grateful for some overdue good fortune, though.

The Bucks just scraped past the seventh seeded Atlanta Hawks, 3-2, as a young Dominique Wilkins gave Milwaukee everything they could handle. As a reward, rather than again facing the 76ers in the Conference Semi-Finals, the Bucks instead were matched up with the New Jersey Nets who themselves had eliminated Philadelphia in the first round.

A 4-2 series win over the Nets saw the Bucks take advantage of a rare opportunity to avoid the Sixers, yet there was no way of dodging their other foe, the Celtics, who lay in wait in the Conference Finals.

The Conference Finals resembled The Larry Bird Show as he led both teams in scoring in all but one of the five games, yet as Boston advanced to another Finals, the Bucks could at least look back on a season where they’d picked up two series wins and ground out close to everything they could from the year overall.