Pro Hoops History HOF: Sidney Moncrief

Sidney Moncrief

Sidney Moncrief is one of the great “what-if” players in basketball history. He only played six seasons totally healthy as a starter. He spent one season as a reserve and spent four more oft-injured. When he was on the court, his Milwaukee Bucks never won, let alone appeared in, an NBA Finals. His total career points top out at a shade below 12,000.  As a supposed top-notch defender he never achieved more than 140 steals in a season and finished his career below 1000 total steals.

Despite all that, Sidney Moncrief also happens happens to be one of the great “what he did” players in basketball history because what he did was simply spectacular. His Bucks coach Don Nelson summed up Moncrief as a player who wouldn’t do one thing to achieve victory, he’d do everything.

During his heyday, Sid the Squid averaged 20+ points for five straight seasons. Although 6’3″ tall, he would slide from point guard to shooting guard to small forward in Nelson’s helter skelter small ball lineups. No matter what offensive role he took on, Moncrief would usually garner the opponent’s toughest offensive assignment all night, so long as it wasn’t a power forward or center. He could leave that to Bob Lanier.

It seemed that everything else indeed fell on Sid. He could dunk with authority or smoothly swish a jumper. He was a superb passer. He was a great rebounder for his position and size (twice averaging 6.7 RPG for a season). He nailed his free throws all day, every day with an 83% average for his career. And he got there regularly with five straight seasons of 7+ FT attempts per game.

From 1982 to 1986, Moncrief was twice named Defensive Player of the Year, was a perennial All-Star and All-NBA team member, and his Bucks may not have won, or even appeared in, an NBA Finals, but they were an amazing success nonetheless. From 1980 to 1986, the Bucks captured their division’s regular season crown every year. They always appeared in at least the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, and three times went to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Ultimately, though, Moncrief’s career never reached its fullest potential. What could have been if his knees had never suffered from chronic injury, we’ll never know. But what he did leaves no doubt that he’s a certified true hall of famer.

Years Played: 1979 – 1991

Milwaukee Bucks
Milwaukee Bucks

Accolades

NBA -
2x Defensive Player of the Year (1983-’84)
All-NBA 1st Team (1983)
4x All-Defensive 1st Team (1983-’86)
4x All-NBA 2nd Team (1982, 1984-’86)
All-Defensive 2nd Team (1982)
5x All-Star (1982-’86)

Statistics

NBA Career (1979-80 through 1990-91)
Peak Career Production
(1980-81 through 1985-86)

Average and Advanced Stats

Stat Career Playoff Peak Peak Rank
Games 767 93 461 37th
PPG 15.6 16 19.8 21st
RPG 4.7 5 5.7 75th
APG 3.6 3.4 4.4 40th
SPG 1.2 1.14 1.45 22nd
BPG 0.3 0.39 0.36 108th
TS% 0.591 0.573 0.595 19th
2PT% 0.513 0.486 0.515 63rd
3PT% 0.284 0.293 0.273 55th
FT% 0.831 0.811 0.832 28th
PER 18.7 15.5 20.1 15th
WS/48 0.187 0.118 0.21 3rd
Ortg 119 115 121
Drtg 105 111 104

Aggregate Stats

Stat Career Playoff Peak Peak Rank
Games 767 93 461 37th
Minutes 23150 3226 16483 8th
Points 11931 1487 9125 12th
Rebounds 3575 469 2630 48th
Assists 2793 317 2043 24th
Steals 924 106 669 14th
Blocks 228 36 166 97th
2PTs 4007 474 3102 24th
3PTs 110 17 51 44th
FTs 3587 488 2768 3rd
WS 90.3 7.9 72 3rd

2 thoughts on “Pro Hoops History HOF: Sidney Moncrief

  1. What doomed him was that the Bucks moved to the Eastern Conference his second year so the path to the finals had to go through Bird and the Celtics and Dr J snd the Sixers.

  2. yes you are absolutely correct. had the bucks stayed in the west they would have made at least a couple Finals appearances in the 1980s. and the lakers would not have had a relative cakewalk to the Finals most years.

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