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, Terry Cummings
LANDOVER, MD – CIRCA 1985: (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /

Milwaukee Bucks: Meet the 1980s All-Decade Team – Terry Cummings

Following in the shoes of a Bucks legend such as Johnson was no easy task, but Terry Cummings proved to be up to it when he arrived to Milwaukee in the fall of 1984 from the then-San Diego Clippers.

In fact, Cummings had been a target for such a swap with the Clippers in the months preceding the finalized trade and once the DePaul product made his return to the Midwest, Cummings immediately made an impression on the veteran Bucks head coach as Nelson told the following to the Los Angeles Times in January of 1985:

"“He’s the most gifted player I’ve ever coached, but he’s not the best. Someday, maybe. He’s just beginning to learn the game,” Nelson said. “He’s always been able to get by on his physical skills. His first statement to me was that he wanted to be an all-around player, like Larry Bird or Dr. J. I said, ‘Great, but it’s going to be a lotta work ‘cause you’re a long way from being there.’ ”"

Cummings was already an accomplished player after having been named the Rookie of Year for the 1982-83 NBA season, but Nelson’s guidance and occasional ire brought Cummings’ game to another level and within a winning environment. And in turn, Cummings immediately gave the Bucks some more heft at the power forward spot while maintain the speed, length and athleticism that those Nelson-led Bucks teams particularly prized.

The sturdy, athletic forward went on to earn two All-Star selections that bookended his first Bucks stint from the 1984-85 season to the 1988-89 campaign as well as two All-NBA selections. And while in Milwaukee, Cummings and the Bucks made one appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals in 1986 while repeatedly coming against those dangerous Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers squads during that time.

It was not long after the 88-89 season where Cummings was shockingly dealt to the San Antonio Spurs in exchange for Alvin Robertson and Greg Anderson as well as draft compensation, all of which left him disappointed to leave a franchise he envisioned he would stay with for the rest of his NBA career:

"“I’m very disappointed. I thought somebody would have told me something instead of calling me up this morning and basically having Coach (Del) Harris say he didn’t know what to say, they had just traded me,” Cummings said Sunday evening. “I wanted to finish my career here. This is the best group of people I ever played with and the best organization I ever played for.”"

Cummings eventually made his return to Milwaukee for the 1995-96 season late into his 18-year NBA career.

In his 480 appearances with the Bucks, Cummings averaged 19.4 points on .484/.290/.702 shooting splits, 7.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.3 steals across 32.1 minutes per contest.