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  • NBA Championships: 1
  • Last NBA Championship: 1971
  • Claim to Fame: The Bucks averaged 61 wins per season from 1970-74.
  • Claim to Shame: The Bucks inexplicably traded Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to the Lakers for a bunch of spare parts in 1975. Cap would go onto win three more MVP awards and become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.

You know those guys who peaked in high school and never did anything meaningful again during their adult lives? They have a lot in common with the Milwaukee Bucks, who won an NBA championship during their third year in the league and haven’t come close to winning another since.

In all fairness, Milwaukee has enjoyed some fine stretches, they just haven’t been back to the top of the proverbial hill. The Bucks were particularly good in the 80’s and made the playoffs 12 consecutive times from 1980 to 1991. Those squads were loaded with All-Stars like Jack Sikma, Sidney Moncrief, and Terry Cummings, but always seemed to fold like a cheap deckchair in the postseason.

The ensuing years have featured more misses than hits as Milwaukee has endured long stretches of futility interrupted by the occasional first round playoff exit. That trend continued in 2017-18 as the Bucks were bounced by the upstart Boston Celtics in seven games. The series was especially frustrating for Milwaukee fans as Boston was without two of its top playmakers in Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.

That loss still stings, but there’s reason for optimism this season. Former Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon is back after missing 34 games with a torn tendon in his left quad, and Giannis Antetokounmpo is still just scratching the surface of his potential despite averaging 26.9 points, 10 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game during his fifth season in the Association. Milwaukee should also benefit from the steady hand of new head coach Mike Budenholzer, who worked wonders in Atlanta and led the Hawks to a 60-win season in 2014-15.

2019 could be the year that Milwaukee bucks the trend and returns to the NBA Finals.

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