Former Milwaukee Bucks forward Armen Gilliam died playing pick-up basketball Tuesday night at age 47.
Gilliam joined the Bucks in August of 1996 as the team searched for a front court mate to pair with blossoming prospect Vin Baker. Coming off a season during which he emerged from the shadow of Derrick Coleman in New Jersey and averaged better than 18 points and nine rebounds, Gilliam appeared a perfect fit.
But Gilliam struggled to earn consistent playing time under Coach Chris Ford. “The Hammer”, as he was known, bounced in and out of the starting lineup and his minutes fluctuated from game to game. He averaged just 8.6 points and 6.2 rebounds in his first season as a Buck as the team struggled to a 33-49 record.
After two more seasons as a role player in Milwaukee, Gilliam played one more season for the Utah Jazz before retiring from the NBA.
Gilliam finished his career with averages of 13.7 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.
Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball.com. Follow him on Twitter.