Milwaukee Bucks: Meet the 1980s All-Decade Team

MILWAUKEE, WI - CIRCA 1986: (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - CIRCA 1986: (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks, Paul Pressey
MILWAUKEE, WI – CIRCA 1986: (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /

Milwaukee Bucks: Meet the 1980s All-Decade Team – Paul Pressey

On the night of the 1982 NBA Draft, Bucks head coach Don Nelson was overjoyed to come away with who he felt was the ‘best defensive player in the draft‘ in Tulsa wing, Paul Pressey:

"“Pressey was the guy we wanted all along,” Nelson said. “We thought he might go as early as 11th. We think he was the best defender in the draft, period.” “I said that there were some players, if they would drift (lower), we would take them,” Nelson said. “When Pressey slipped there was no question about it.”"

Nelson’s visions of what Pressey was and could be certainly came to pass, especially when the Virginia native got his shot in a featured role every night within the Bucks’ starting lineup following the trade of Marques Johnson before the 1984-85 season.

And it’s through the blueprint that Nelson had built with Johnson that enabled Nelson to utilize Pressey as the Bucks’ point forward where he stood as the team’s leading distributor and playmaker throughout the latter half of the decade. All the while checking opposing perimeter players, harassing them with his seven-foot-plus wingspan and combining forces with Sidney Moncrief to form a truly disruptive backcourt.

Even well after Pressey and Nelson’s shared time in Milwaukee, Nelson still holds a great affinity for Pressey and detailed how his emergence was key to the Bucks’ longevity during that decade for the Players Tribune in July of 2016:

"“Pressey was 6′ 5″, with long arms and ballhandling skills as good as some of the best guards in the league. He was naturally a forward, but with his great hands I had no problem playing him at guard. It was like having a point guard in a forward’s body. He was just a matchup problem for defenders. Not to mention, he made the team better. For several seasons he averaged more than seven assists a game. There weren’t that many forwards who could score, defend and pass like Paul Pressey. He was a phenomenal player.”"

While he stands as one of the best Bucks players who never earned an All-Star appearance, Pressey made three straight All-Defensive Teams from 1985 to 1987. Pressey’s time in Milwaukee came to an end following the 1989-90 season when he was dealt to the San Antonio Spurs in exchange for Frank Brickowski.

Even to this day, Pressey has compiled the most assists (3,272) in Bucks history and by a wide margin, is second in steals (894) and has the sixth-most appearances (580) as well.

In his 580 appearances with the Bucks, Pressey averaged 11.9 points on .490/.219/.745 shooting splits, 5.6 assists, 4.3 rebounds, 1.5 steals across 29.2 minutes per game.