Milwaukee Bucks: Meet the 1980s All-Decade Team – Sidney Moncrief
It’s only fitting that we kick off our Bucks All-Decades team for the 1980s with the very player that arguably embodies the image and place the Bucks have carved out historically throughout their half-century existence.
Throughout their dominant run in the 80s, Sidney Moncrief stood as one of the rare constants for the Bucks on the court under Nelson. In Moncrief, the Bucks had a relentless worker whose tenacity and drive essentially served as the Bucks’ engine as they crafted numerous 50-win seasons and deep playoff runs throughout the decade.
At his peak, Moncrief stood as an incredibly efficient penetrator and acrobatic finisher at the basket, was capable of hitting shots from the outside and could lead the Bucks’ multi-dimensional offense. Defensively, no one worked harder to disrupt and harass opposing guards and wings on the perimeter than the former Razorback and it led to him gaining the respect of the all-time greats of that era, most notably Michael Jordan.
As a result of all of that, Moncrief stands as one of the most honored Bucks players in history, whether it’s winning the first two NBA Defensive Player of the Year awards or earning five straight All-Star selections and five All-NBA selections from 1982 to 1986.
Unfortunately, Moncrief’s athletic peak was not equally paired with a career longevity to that of his peers throughout the decade. The debilitating pain of Moncrief’s knees as well as a rash of lower leg injuries greatly affected his durability and performance in the latter half of the decade and Milwaukee subsequently lost its foothold near the top of the Eastern Conference and especially after Nelson left following the 1986-87 season.
Eventually, those spate of injuries forced ‘Sid the Squid’ to call it quits following the 1988-89 season before making a one-season comeback with the Atlanta Hawks in 1990-91 at 33 years old.
Moncrief never had to wait to be honored by the Bucks as they retired his no. 4 jersey in the year following his first retirement. The same couldn’t be said for his call to the Naismith Hall of Fame, but that was fortunately rectified when Moncrief was officially inducted in Springfield in September of 2019.
In his 695 appearances with the Bucks, Moncrief averaged 16.7 points on a .503/.276/.832 slash line, 5 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.3 steals across 31.7 minutes per contest.