The Best of a Bad Situation: 3. Glenn Robinson
(Glenn Robinson has a cooler nickname than any Milwaukee Bucks player since Sidney Moncrief, even if he stole Big Dog from Antoine Carr. Of course, I’d never lead an article about Sidney Moncrief referring to his nickname (though I would lead a Carr article in that way). That says something about Robinson. A perpetual disappointment, but that’s probably more our fault than his. Dog did his thing, he chipped in what he could and, even though he missed that shot, he was a big part of the best Milwaukee Bucks team in a lot of people’s lives.)
Glenn Robinson couldn’t do it alone. He didn’t lead the Bucks to a record north of .500 until Ray Allen arrived. He didn’t make it out of the first round until Sam Cassell came to town. In that way, he wasn’t what you expect from a first overall selection. Robinson was more of a complementary piece than a lead dog. Regardless, what he gave Milwaukee during his eight years with the team was invaluable.
Nobody is going to pretend Robinson was anything more than a scorer on offense, and he certainly wasn’t known for his defensive acumen. But that one thing Robinson did amazingly well, mid-range shooting, made up for it all. Pass Big Dog the ball when he was open and there was a good chance he was going to give you some points. That isn’t something you can say about everyone.
Ironically, the first play I think of when I think of Robinson is a missed shot. Sure, if he made that 10-foot jumper, the Bucks almost assuredly would have gone up 3-2 against the Sixers in the Eastern Conference Finals. And who knows what would have happened from there. But rather than wonder what would have happened if Robinson didn’t miss, I will do my best to remember all of the makes. And as the second all-time leading scorer in Bucks’ history, there are a heck of a lot of them. – JH
When we had our Bucksketball staff meeting to discuss these rankings, I originally had Big Dog as my number one choice. This conflicted greatly with what Josh and Jeremy had and, to be honest, what I knew to be true. I wasn’t thinking of whom the best player was, I was thinking who best defined what it’s meant to be a Milwaukee Buck in the past 20 years. And there’s really no one more definitive of the Bucks since the 90s than Big Dog.
He brought hope to the franchise that was quickly tempered by a holdout. That holdout led to a contract so insane that it helped trigger a change in the salary structure. Offensively, he was fantastic, averaging 21 ppg in eight seasons as a Buck. Defensively, he was terrible. His best was never good enough until George Karl joined the franchise, Ray Allen came into his own and Ervin Johnson had his back. For the most part, this sums up the Bucks. Hope that’s quickly crushed. Terrible contracts. Fun offense complimented by terrible defense.
That might be infuriating to some people, but that was Bucks basketball when I was growing up. Now, I barely recognize the team I’ve watched my whole life. I just want to go back to the days where Robinson would score 40 and so would the other guy. I miss Big Dog. – IS
It’s easy to take for granted something you encounter on a daily basis. I’m never amazed that my car starts in the morning. If I press the button on my key chain and my car doesn’t start, I’d be upset. I’d probably curse the manufacturer and then avoid fixing the problem because car issues are scary. But until that day comes, I’ll barely think about how amazing it is that I can press a button from my bed and have my car warm by the time I decide I want to drive away.
Last year’s Bucks were my car. Their offense? The broken key chain starter. Glenn Robinson? For eight years, longer I’m sure than my actual key chain starter will work, he was a reliable starter. 20 points was a nightly occurrence for Robinson. But for the number one pick with the largest rookie contract in the NBA’s history, this wasn’t enough. Especially not with picks two and three Grant Hill and Jason Kidd displaying well rounded, superstar level games.
So Glenn Robinson’s numbers became a lot less impressive with each passing season. We became accustomed to his points and agitated that we weren’t seeing more. We want more rebounding, more defense and more assists Big Dog! Lead us to the playoffs. Be a legend. Those were the demands from Bucks fans.
Robinson would become an All-Star, but never a legend. He didn’t lead the Bucks into the playoffs and beyond single-handedly, but he was a key part of a great team.
If that’s disappointing, it probably speaks more to your expectations of him based upon the salary structure at the time of his arrival and his draft position. It’s tough to say Robinson didn’t maximize his NBA potential. He scored and scored and scored, despite an awkward body that left him too slow to be a natural three and too small to be a four.
He finished as the second leading scorer in Bucks history, trailing only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. For a guy whose game revolved around scoring, I’d say that’s about as good as it gets. – JS
Categories: 20 Bucks for 20 Years