Note: This list is based on how each team finished the season. The current Bucks team may very well turn out to be the best team Milwaukee has ever assembled on the basketball court. However, their place in team history will be determined on how far they go in the playoffs.
1970-1971 (NBA Champions)
The obvious choice for the top team in franchise history goes to the only team to bring home the championship. The 70-71 Bucks were led by Kareem Abdul Jabbar, who averaged 31.7 points per game and 16.0 rebounds per game. Oscar Robertson, 32, averaged 19.4 points, 8.2 assists, and 5.7 rebounds.
After dominating the regular season with a 66-16 record, the Bucks rammed through the Western Conference defeating the Warriors and the Lakers 4-1. They then made a clean 4-0 sweep of the Baltimore Bullets in the Finals. Kareem averaged 27 points and 18.5 rebounds and brought home his first Finals MVP award.
1973-1974 (Lost NBA Finals)
The second place ranking on this list goes to the only other team in franchise history to actually make it to the NBA Finals. Kareem led this Bucks team averaging 27.0 points and 14.5 rebounds. Bob Dandridge was the team’s second leading scorer at 18.5 points per game. Oscar Robertson, 35, averaged 12.7 points, 6.4 assists, and 4.0 rebounds.
After going 61-21 in the regular season, the Bucks lost only one game in the Western Conference playoffs, but lost in seven games to the Boston Celtics.
2019-2020 (Currently have the League’s Best Record)
Currently, the Bucks have the league’s best record at 38-6. The Bucks are led by Giannis Antetokounmpo who is averaging 30 points, 12.8 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game. Khris Middleton is averaging 19.4 points and Eric Bledsoe is chipping in 15.1 a game.
The Bucks appear to be well on their way to the top seed in the East again this year. The Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics, and Toronto Raptors appear to be the team’s biggest challenges thus far. Should they get to the finals, they may meet a Lakers team led by LeBron James.
2018-2019 (Lost Eastern Conference Finals)
Last season’s Bucks team was quite the surprise to many fans, who have long suffered with mediocrity and early playoff exits. Coach Mike Budenholzer came in and completely changed the culture in Milwaukee. Instead of forbidding Giannis from shooting 3’s, he encouraged him and pushed him to be better. Giannis’s 3-point percentage increased each month of the season on the way to the MVP award. He averaged 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game. Khris Middleton was an all-star and averaged 18.3 points per game. Eric Bledsoe average 15.9 points, but was more of a defensive force earning a place on the All-NBA 1st Team Defense.
The Bucks won 60 games for the first time since the 1980-81 season and breezed through the first two rounds of the Eastern Conference Playoffs. They played against the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Finals. After winning the first two games, the Bucks dropped the final four games to the Toronto Raptors.
1971-1972 (Lost Western Conference Finals)
The Milwaukee Bucks followed up their NBA Championship season with one of the best regular seasons in franchise history. Kareem Abdul Jabbar, averaged 34.8 PPG and 16.6 RPG en route to the NBA MVP Award. Oscar Robertson averaged 17.4 points, 7.7 assists, and 5 rebounds. Bob Dandridge was the team’s second leading scorer with 18.4 PPG.
This Bucks team cruised to a 63-19 regular season record and easily defeated the Warriors 4-1 in the Western Conferences Semi-Finals. They were defeated in the Western Conference Finals by the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers who had won a then-record 69 games in the regular season.
2000-2001 (Lost Eastern Conference Finals)
This Bucks team was certainly one of the most entertaining teams that Milwaukee assembled in recent memory. After enduring nine years of mediocre basketball, George Karl coached the team to a season that set expectations that just would not be met in Milwaukee until the 2018-2019 season. The 2000-01 Bucks were led by the Big Three of Ray Allen (22 ppg), Glenn Robinson (22 ppg), and Sam Cassell (18.2 ppg, 7.6 apg). In addition, Tim Thomas came off the bench and averaged 12.6 points. Thomas came in second in the Sixth Man of the Year voting.
The Bucks went 52-30 during the regular season. This was the first time the Bucks won 50 games since the 1986-1987 season. It would be the last time they would win that many games until 2018. After winning the first round series against Orlando 3-1, the Bucks won a hard-fought series against the Hornets 4-3. They were bested in the Eastern Conference Finals by the Philadelphia 76ers, who then lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals that year.
*Note- The Bucks were 2-0 against the Lakers that year
1985-1986 (Lost Eastern Conference Finals)
The Don Nelson coached Bucks were led on the court by Sidney Moncrief who averaged 20.2 PPG. Four other Bucks players averaged double-figures, including Terry Cummings who averaged 19.8 that season. They were a defensive force that finished with a Defensive Rating of 102.7. That was second in the NBA that year.
After going 57-25 in the regular season, the Bucks swept the Nets in the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs before winning a grueling seven-game series against Dr. J and the 76ers. They were then swept in the Eastern Conference Finals by the Boston Celtics. The Celtics went on to win the NBA Championship that year. This would be the last time the Bucks won 50 or more games until the 2000-01 season.
1982-1983 (Lost Eastern Conference Finals)
The 82-83 Bucks were an extremely well-balanced team. An astounding SIX players averaged in double figures, led by Sidney Moncrief (22.5) and Marques Johnson (21.4). Junior Bridgemen averaged 14.4 PPG from the bench and Bob Lanier averaged 10.7 PPG and 5.1 RPG in only 39 games (35 starts).
The Bucks finished the regular season with 51-31 record before sweeping the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. They then lost the Eastern Conference Finals to the Philadelphia 76ers, who won the NBA Championship against the Los Angeles Lakers.
1983-1984 (Lost Eastern Conference Finals)
Like the 1985-86 team, this Bucks team was a force to be reckoned with on defense. They finished the season with a Defensive Rating of 103.6, second in the league that year. Offensively, five Bucks players averaged double figures, including Sidney Moncrief (20.9) and Marques Johnson (20.7). Nate “Tiny” Archibald, the future Hall of Famer, played the final season of his career on this team. He averaged 7.4 points and 3.5 assists in 46 games (all starts).
The Bucks finished the regular season with a 50-32 record. They won a close five-game series against the Hawks 3-2 before defeating the New Jersey Nets 4-2 in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. They were then beaten 4-1 by the Boston Celtics (again) in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics went on the win the NBA Championship in seven games against the Los Angeles Lakers. Larry Bird also won the MVP Award that season.
1980-1981 (Lost in Eastern Semi-Finals; regular season record of 60-22)
The 2018-2019 Bucks team can draw a lot of comparisons with this Bucks team in that they won 60 games and finished the season as one of the best offensive AND defensive teams in the league. The 1980-81 Bucks finished the regular season with the 2nd most efficient offense and the 3rd most efficient defense. This Bucks team had an astounding SEVEN players finish the season averaging double figures, led by Marques Johnson (20.3).
The Bucks finished the season with 60 wins, the last time the team won that many games until 2018-2019. They lost in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals to the Philadelphia 76ers, who were defeated by the Boston Celtics. The teams that would follow the 1980 team would be very successful in the regular season, but were never able to take the leap into the NBA Finals.
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