When talking about some of the best teams to never win a title, you must mention the Milwaukee Bucks of the 1980s'. Coming off a period in the 70s' where Kareem Abdul Jabbar led them to a ring, the Bucks turned a new page and assembled a very talented team that presented a real challenge for the NBA for some time. You can argue, their best player at that time was Sidney Moncrief, a name that rarely gets mentioned nowadays.
The career of Sidney Moncrief
Moncrief spent eleven seasons in the NBA, playing for the Milwaukee Bucks in all but one, which was his last year in the league. Nagging injuries would slow down Sidney's career early and force him to retire at 33 years old. But when he was in his prime, Moncrief was a special kind of player.
The numbers and stats don't jump off the board when you look at Sidney's career, but his impact went beyond the box score:
Moncrief's playstyle was different for a guy of his size. At only 6'3'', the combo guard loved to post up and use his strength to bully matchups. Guards of that era' weren't too focused on scoring but instead relied on setting up their wings and bigs for buckets. But Moncrief was the best scorer on his team, often setting himself up in the low post and mid-range areas to do damage.
Aside from being able to score inside the three-point line, Sidney was versatile with a solid jump shot and ability to distribute the ball, making him an all-around offensive threat. But where Moncrief reaped the most havoc was on the defensive side of the floor. Strong and agile, Sidney had the ability to harass the best opposing perimeter player perfectly. That led to winning two DPOY awards in a row, which were actually the first ones in history. To this day, Moncrief remains the only guard to win that award multiple times, as it is strictly reserved for big men nowadays.
Having Moncrief made the Bucks defense impeccable, as they often led the league in defensive rating and presented the staple of two-way basketball of that era. Along with guys like Terry Cummings, Marques Johnson, Alton Lister, and more, the 1980's Bucks presented an all-around solid group of players that presented a challenge for everyone.
But unfortunately for them, they never managed to make the Finals, playing in the golden era of the NBA. The Bucks would make the Conference Finals and Semifinals numerous times, only to be bounced out by Bird's Celtics or Erving 76ers. They just didn't have enough star power to take down the big dogs. But there was no shame in that.
Unfortunately, that is the reason why most fans today don't remember Sidney Moncrief or those 80's Bucks teams. If Moncrief's knee problems didn't end his career prematurely, maybe he could have made a more significant case for his legacy. But even in the time he had, Moncrief did enough to get into the Hall-of-Fame and stay in the minds of the hardcore NBA fans.