The Bucks 10 Biggest Draft Blunders
10 Marcus Haislip (13th pick -- 2002 draft): To paraphrase Hollywood Henderson, this moronic lottery pick couldn't spell 'cat' if you spotted him the 'c' and the 'a'. The Bucks actually knew he had no game when they drafted him, but they foolishly believed they could develop his extremely raw skills. They were wrong. Moses himself couldn't turn this guy into a legitimate NBA player. Truth be told, though, I never got the impression he really wanted to be an NBA player anyway. It always seemed he was content to sit at the end of the bench and steal money until his guaranteed rookie contract expired. He was one of the most lazy underachieving players Milwaukee has ever seen.
9 Jerry "Ice" Reynolds (22nd pick -- 1985 draft): Ahh, the legend of "Ice" Reynolds. The "Next Paul Pressey". Hardly. No, he was just one of a long line of awful draft choices made by Dumb-Dumb Don Nelson. Nelson actually compared the Ice Man to Magic Johnson at one time. That's like comparing a beer hall to the Taj Mahal. This stiff never averaged more than 8.0 points per game in a Buck uniform. Here's what really hurt: the two picks after him, F AC Green and hometown boy Terry Porter, fared a little better wouldn't you say?
8. George Johnson (12th pick -- 1978 draft): Bet you never even heard of this guy did you? That's because he had absolutely no impact on the Bucks. He was the 12th pick in the 1978 draft and played only 64 games in a Buck uniform, averaging a mere 6.2 points per game. The twelfth best player in the draft was this guy? Did they even scout back then?
7 Russell Lee (6th pick -- 1971 draft): Bet you never heard of this guy either. Well, he represents the greatest missed opportunity in Bucks history. With the sixth pick in the 1971 draft, the one they used on him, the Bucks could have chosen G Paul Westphal. Think what kind of team they would have had with Westphal coming off the bench, nailing wide open jumpers when the defense sucked in on Kareem. I 'll bet they would have won at least one more World Championship, probably a couple more. But it never happened. Instead the Bucks chose Lee, a no-game nobody who lasted just 2 years and averaged just 2.6 points a game. Ain't that a shame.
6 Voshon Leonard/ Eric Snow (second round picks): Here are actually two very astute second round picks. So why are they on this list? Because after drafting them, the Bucks blundered when they decided not to give either a legitimate chance to make the team's roster. Both could have contributed value to the 90s Bucks; neither got the chance. Two of Mike Dunleavy's many franchise destroying mistakes as GM/Coach of the Bucks.
5 Ernie Grunfeld (llth pick -- 1977 draft): The thing that makes this pick so awful is the fellow chosen with the very next pick. That would be Cornbread Maxwell, who buy the way played essentially the same position. Two guys play the same position, one is clearly better than the other, so who do the Bucks chose? The worse one. Maxwell went on to win a championship with the Celtics. Grunfeld went on to... well, he's a pretty good GM.
4 "May Day" (8th and 23rd picks -- 1992 draft): Holding two picks in the first round of the 1992 draft, the Bucks were flush with optimism and poised to turn their ailing franchise around. It didn't happen. The Bucks selected the Arkansas duo of Todd Day and Lee Mayberry known collectively as "May Day", as in "May Day, May Day, this franchise is sinking". One was a shooting guard who couldn't shoot, the other was a point guard who couldn't make plays. As a result of this and other blunders the Bucks spent most of the 90s as an NBA joke.
3 Robert "Tractor" Traylor (No. 6 -- 1999 draft): This was a horrible pick, but not because of Dirk Nowitzki. Despite what many people believe, the Bucks never really had Nowitzki. I will explain that in my next post. For now, its enough to say the Bucks traded a first round pick to move up and draft this undersized, fat, lazy underachiever whom they knew to have a chronic weight problem. Why? God only knows. He lasted an uneventful two seasons in Milwaukee before the Bucks got real and let him go. They could have had G Paul Pierce instead. That's indictment enough.
2 Kent Benson (No. 1 -- 1977 draft): "With the first pick in the 1977 draft the Milwaukee Bucks select... KENT BENSON? Are you kidding me? The mustachioed white stiff from Indiana was the best player available in the summer of 1977? Huh? Instead of drafting one of the following, F Bernard King, C Jack Sikma, G Otis Birdsong, G Walter Davis, or F Cedric Maxwell, the Bucks decided to trust their future to this slow rec league player. He lasted only three seasons in Milwaukee, and did nothing. He has since taken his rightful place aside the legendary LaRue Martin and Michael Olowakandi as one of the three worst No. 1 overall picks of all time.
1 Shawn Respert (No. 8 -- 1995 draft): Many would argue with this, but for personal reasons, I think this was the Bucks biggest draft blunder of all-time. I mean, at least the team turned Kent Benson into C Bob Lanier. They got nothing out of Respert at a time when they absolutely couldn't afford to get nothing. On top of that, his selection represent one of the most bizarre personnel decisions in NBA history. First the Bucks GM, Mike Dunleavy, thought so much of this guy that he traded up to get him, then Bucks Coach, Mike Dunleavy, discovered that the GM's star pupil was of no value to the team because he was too short to play shooting guard and lacked the playmaking skills to play point guard. How did he not know this before the draft?! Didn't they measure him? Didn't they test him out at all? At 6'1'' and about a buck 50 of course he was too small to play the 2 in the NBA! An eyeball test would have told you that. Anyway, he was completely useless to the Bucks, and looked ridiculous trying to compete against the full grown shooting guards he had to match up with in the NBA. He's now trying to float the idea that a bout with abdominal cancer in his second season unfairly torpedoed his career. That is hokum. Had Respert been 100% healthy he was still not NBA material. That's not his fault. It is the Bucks fault for drafting him. I won't even go into the long list of effective players the team passed on to make this joke pick. Suffice it to say, while the other players were still contributing in the Association, Respert was seen trying to get into games at various Milwaukee area high school open gyms. Well, at least he is alive and healthy, which is more important than basketball anyway. But he still has the distinction of being the Biggest Draft Blunder in Milwaukee Bucks history.