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

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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

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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

Jeremy SchmidtJosh Hilgendorf and Ian Segovia write the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball.com. Click their names to follow them on Twitter.

I watch the Milwaukee Bucks often and write about what I see…

8 Comments

  1. Big Dog was the only member of the Big 3 that I ever met, he signed my jersey for me and I was speechless the whole time I was in front of him. I must’ve been around 9 years old give or take. I remember him being a real cool guy tho, and I remember he taught me the word “aight” and to this day i will not use the L in that word in honor of my first and hopefully not last meeting of the Big Dog

  2. I love reminiscing about the bucks of the 90’s. That’s when I like, like some of you guys, started really paying attention. Started buying Bucks gear and so on… Big Dog was my boy and I hated Grant Hill and Jason Kidd. I always blamed “the media” for his lack of national praise. I think I still blame the media and the refs in general for my percieved lack of calls in games and overall snubbing by sports media, and it all started back then…

  3. @Bizzucks
    I think these last few years, years in which Hill and Kidd have still been either All-Stars or relevant members of playoff rotations while Robinson has long since been out of the league, can allow you to cut the media some slack.

  4. …and, I am an idiot. but for the record, the Bogut post is uncategorized, y’all might want to tag it as “20 Bucks for 20 Years”

  5. I just wanted to say that as a long time Buck fan I give Glenn Robinson more credit than most do. He gave something to Milwaukee that Grant Hill and jason Kidd never gave their respective teams. Loyalty. Glenn loved playing in Milwaukee when others didn’t. Terrell Brandon sulked all the while he was there. When you look at it now even his contract was somewhat pedestrian by today’s standards. His jumper was sweet as could be and there was no one better with a hand in is face than the Big Dog. He made tough shots. What some folks don’t realize is he never fully recovered from the leg injury he had the year he was averaging almost 24ppg and got hurt and didn’t finish the season. It was bringing in Anthony Mason that hurt the Bucks. We should have tried it again with Scott Williams. That 2000-2001 team had a toughness other Buck teams didn’t and played just enough defense when it had to. George Karl started out well then got to big for his britches. Bobby Dandridge, Marques Johnson and Glenn Robinson began a tradition of smooth scoring small forwards that the Bucks have lacked since Glenn was traded. I for one miss him still.