Sidney Moncrief

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Sidney Moncrief

Postby rlee » Sat Sep 17, 2011 2:14 am

Moncrief, most aristocratic Buck, back on Milwaukee bench
by Steve Aschburner
NBA.com

Posted Sep 4 2011
Sidney Moncrief slipped back into Milwaukee Bucks basketball a few weeks ago with about as much fanfare as he got the first time around.
Folks in Milwaukee noticed certainly, even against the backdrop of the MLB Brewers' torrid August. But Moncrief, in joining head coach Scott Skiles' staff, created barely a ripple elsewhere, not all that different from the national attention paid to his 10 remarkable seasons there as a player, in what seems now like some previous lifetime.
"It's always amazing that fans up there remember," said Moncrief, talking by phone from Dallas while prepping for his return to Wisconsin. "You would think that after 20 -- wait, I can't make myself that young -- after 30 years they wouldn't, but when I go back, they talk as if you were playing five years ago."

That's how special Moncrief's run with the Bucks was from 1979 to 1989. For folks in other markets, amid a sports glut that makes it hard to remember just who won what title when, those Milwaukee teams of Moncrief, Marques Johnson, Bob Lanier, Junior Bridgeman, Terry Cummings, Ricky Pierce, coach Don Nelson and dozens of others are easily forgotten.
They didn't win an NBA championship. They never reached The Finals. Out East, the NBA was all about the Celtics (five conference titles), the 76ers (three) and the Pistons (two) during Moncrief's 10-year stint there. The Bucks, by comparison, were usually finishing second or third to one of them, falling short, missing out. In prominence and staying power, they were in the '80s what the Sacramento Kings became in the '00s. Only without satellite or Internet.
In Milwaukee, of course, it's different. Those were the best of times, exciting and sustained enough to rival or surpass the 1971 championship and 1974 Finals seasons, given the NBA's lower wattage back then and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's prickly exit in 1975. Under Nelson and coinciding with Moncrief's arrival in the 1979 draft (he came at No. 5, after Nelson convinced Detroit he would take Michigan State's Greg Kelser, then extracted a reported $100,000 to land the guy he preferred), the Bucks won seven consecutive division titles.
Marques Johnson was a smooth scorer and leading man. Lanier, though hobbling on bum knees, brought bulk and guile that Milwaukee craved in the middle. Nelson was in his early prime as a mad scientist, exploiting illegal-defense rules, putting the ball in the hands of his "point forward." But Moncrief was the spindly star, not so much for his dominance in any one area but for his impact overall, in the seams, at both ends.
All knobby knees, pointy elbows and veins rising on his brow, the sinewy, slender Moncrief could torment his man on either side of midcourt. It's not quite accurate to say that the NBA created its Defensive Player of the Year award with him in mind, but Moncrief did win the first two in 1983 and 1984.
He guarded like Michael Cooper but, with 11,931 points and a .502 shooting percentage, scored like James Worthy. His outside game grew dangerous but he stayed springy enough to attack, recreating numerous times for Milwaukee his famous 1978 Sports Illustrated college cover shot. Five times each, Moncrief was an all-NBA pick, an all-defense selection and an All-Star.
The Bucks' record in his 10 seasons there: 522-298 (.637), with 10 postseason appearances and those seven division titles. In terms of "win shares per 48 minutes," Moncrief ranks 30th in NBA/ABA history, which means little until you frame it this way: The 19 players ahead of him on that list who are eligible for the Hall of Fame are in the Hall of Fame. And so are the next nine.

But Moncrief never won a ring. Neither did Lanier, Johnson or, for that matter, Nelson as a coach.
"It wasn't that we didn't have a good team," said Moncrief, now 53. "It wasn't that we couldn't compete. It wasn't that Don Nelson wasn't a good coach in big games. It's just that they were just a little better than what we were. Their talent level was a little better, they competed, they were smart players and timing was not perfect for us."
The "they" were Boston and Philadelphia primarily and "they" always stood between Milwaukee and a Finals trip. Even when the Bucks could handle one -- they swept the Celtics in the 1983 Eastern Conference semifinals -- they couldn't handle the other, managing only to stick the 76ers with their lone defeat in Moses Malone's near-"fo', fo', fo'" championship run.
"The purists know [how good those Bucks teams were]," Moncrief said. "Certainly we were overshadowed and, had we broken through to win a championship, more people would remember. But when you look at those teams in the '80s -- the Lakers, the Celtics, the 76ers -- it was very easy to get overshadowed.
"What I don't think people realize is how great those teams were. You start looking at the old games on NBA TV and you see, 'Gol, they had this player and this player and this player? You start looking at the personnel, it was scary."
The Eastern Conference is frightening enough again, what with Miami, Chicago, Boston, Orlando, Atlanta and New York flexing superstars, depth or both. Moncrief, who replaces assistant Kelvin Sampson (to Houston), won't focus on any one area, instead working alongside Jim Boylan, Joe Wolf, Bill Peterson and Anthony Goldwire doing whatever Skiles assigns.
Back in 1979, Bridgeman was the veteran who mentored Moncrief into the NBA. Seven years later, Moncrief did the same for Skiles, a hard-headed point guard from Michigan State.
"The most important year in my career was my rookie year," Skiles told reporters when Moncrief's hiring was announced. "To be around that group of guys -- Sid, Cummings, Pierce, [Craig] Hodges, [Paul] Pressey, Jack Sikma ... [Paul] Mokeski. I learned an awful lot. Sidney was the leader of that group."

It has been hard in recent years to even count Moncrief's groups: After retiring from the Bucks in 1989, he got the itch and returned for the 1990-91 season with Atlanta. He got involved with car dealerships in Arkansas and Arizona. He spent one year as head coach at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock in his hometown. He was at Nelson's side as an assistant in Dallas (2000-03) and Golden State (2006-07). In between, he coached the NBA D-League's Fort Worth Flyers in 2006-07.
In 2009, he taught the game in Beijing, China for 18 months. This month, he is releasing a self-help book, Your Passport to Reinventing You, that draws on his basketball and post-NBA experiences. He did some fill-in broadcast work last season for the Bucks and will be back on the scene now if that Hall in Springfield, Mass., cares to do what sports halls in Wisconsin and Arkansas already have done.
"As a player, you have that thought," Moncrief said. "Unfortunately, they often look at the number of points you score and how many championships you won. They don't always take into account the total game.
"The even better news is, it's great if you do [make it] and even if you don't, life goes on and you know you've had a good career."
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Re: Sidney Moncrief

Postby bchaikin » Sat Sep 17, 2011 2:49 am

sidney moncrief - the 2nd best SG in the league in terms of peak value (next to jordan) in the last 34 years. there wasn't a more defensively dominant SG other than perhaps jordan. only bad knees robbed us of a sure-fire hall of famer...

from 80-81 to 85-86, six consecutive seasons, the milwaukee bucks were - by far - the best defensive team in the league. those 6 years combined the difference in pts/poss allowed by milwaukee and the 2nd best defensive team, boston, was greater than the difference in pts/poss allowed by boston and the 6th best defensive team new jersey (bos, was, phi, pho, then njn)...

the 6-4 and 190 lb sidney moncrief was DPOY twice (in 82-83 and 83-84, and despite great defensive seasons by big men like buck williams, rick mahorn, mark eaton, tree rollins, and others), all-D 1st team 4 times, and all-D 2nd team once during that 6 year stretch. he was the key reason milwaukee was the top defensive team for such a long time, and played almost twice as many minutes as any other bucks player during that time (except marques johnson who he played 40% more minutes than)...

however not only was he the best defensive SG in the league these 6 seasons, he was also one of the very best all-around offensive SGs. he not only scored the 3rd most total points among all SGs (behind only gervin and free) from 80-81 to 85-86, but was the best overall shooting SG (58.0% ScFG%), made the most FTs (shooting 83%), and grabbed the 2nd most total rebounds among all SGs. he scored more than 1/6 of the bucks total points these 6 years, and they averaged a 55-27 W-L record during this time, bettered by only bos, phi, and lal...
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Re: Sidney Moncrief

Postby Mike Goodman » Sat Sep 17, 2011 8:49 am

... They never reached The Finals. Out East, the NBA was all about the Celtics (five conference titles), the 76ers (three) and the Pistons (two) during Moncrief's 10-year stint there...

Oddly, I was just lying awake and wondering what the story would have been like for the Bucks of Moncrief, had they stayed in the Western Conference. It looks like they'd have been winning the Midwest division most years, rather than the Central. But they'd have had just the Lakers as their equals-or-better, rather than the Celtics and the Sixers. Until 1987, when the Mavs would rise.

According to SRS, they were better than any team in the West in 1981, 1982, 1984, 1985, and 1986.
http://www.basketball-reference.com/lea ... _1981.html
SRS is just point differential adjusted for strength of schedule.
The Lakers had a better record most years, but with a softer schedule.

Dallas joined the league in 1980-81. They seemed to fit in the Midwest, so the Bucks were moved to the East. Too bad for them. We might have seen several Lakers/Bucks playoff showdowns and a couple of Finals trips for Milwaukee.
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Re: Sidney Moncrief

Postby mtamada » Mon Sep 19, 2011 5:24 pm

bchaikin wrote:sidney moncrief - the 2nd best SG in the league in terms of peak value (next to jordan) in the last 34 years. there wasn't a more defensively dominant SG other than perhaps jordan. only bad knees robbed us of a sure-fire hall of famer...


Even during his career he tended to be underrated; aside from Wilt and maybe Jordan, Moncrief was perhaps the player who most balanced offensive and defensive excellence. Based on talent and peak value, a clear Hall of Famer indeed. The relatively short career is what makes him questionable for the Hall. This is where a measure such as Wins Above Replacement helps us properly balance peak value vs. longevity; one problem is determining what the replacement level is.
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Re: Sidney Moncrief

Postby Mike Goodman » Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:00 pm

mtamada wrote:
bchaikin wrote:sidney moncrief - the 2nd best SG in the league in terms of peak value (next to jordan) in the last 34 years. ..

Even during his career he tended to be underrated; aside from Wilt and maybe Jordan, Moncrief was perhaps the player who most balanced offensive and defensive excellence. Based on talent and peak value, a clear Hall of Famer indeed. The relatively short career is what makes him questionable for the Hall. This is where a measure such as Wins Above Replacement helps us properly balance peak value vs. longevity; one problem is determining what the replacement level is.

I don't know what "peak value" Bob is referring to, but isn't it at least arguable that Kobe and/or Wade might be greater at the position? Ray Allen and Brandon Roy have had more Win Shares in a season. Reggie Miller, Vince Carter, Iverson, or Drexler might also beg to differ, depending on how one may define 'peak value', the value of playoffs relative to regular seasons, etc.

Moncrief wasn't underrated during his career, if his 2 DPOY and 5 all-NBA appointments define how he was rated in his time. Perhaps the casual fan didn't notice these elite designations, but they were acknowledgements of his greatness.

If Win Shares had been around in 1986, the all-time leaders among guards, in their first 7 NBA seasons would be:
117.6 Oscar
87.2 West
85.2 Frazier
77.4 Magic
76.9 Moncrief
58.1 Wanzer
56.5 Archibald
55.7 Cheeks

He would wind up with 90 win shares, and now ranks 29th in regular season WS, including ABA. To be passed soon by Andre Miller, Jason Terry, Wade, Ginobili ...
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Re: Sidney Moncrief

Postby bchaikin » Tue Sep 20, 2011 3:36 am

I don't know what "peak value" Bob is referring to...

i have moncrief's 82-83 season as the 2nd best by an SG (since 1977-78) in terms of wins generated (via simulation) on a per minute basis, other than any of a number of seasons of michael jordan, better (but just slightly) than single seasons of drexler (87-88 or 88-89), mcgrady (02-03), wade (08-09), k.bryant (02-03 or 06-07), gervin (79-80), and others. i also have moncrief's wins generated on a per minute basis from the ages of 24-28 (81-82 to 85-86, 5 years) as more than any other single SG in that same age range since 1977-78 other than jordan...

isn't it at least arguable that Kobe and/or Wade might be greater at the position?

absolutely - i have the differences for him being 2nd best in terms of wins generated on a per minute basis in that age range for SGs as being much closer to the 3rd-7th rated SGs than the 1st (jordan). i could easily see someone else rate another SG with greater peak value in that same age range, especially if that rating system does not include individual player defense outside of steals, blocked shots, and defensive rebounding...

that age range is obviously arbitrary, since moncrief was injured at the age of 29 and never the same. but the range of ages 24-28 still incorporates most SGs...

it seems like you rarely hear moncrief talked about as one of the all-time greats, primarily because his career ended prematurely due to bad knees. but in terms of peak value it's hard to argue there was a better defensive SG (since 1977-78) in that age range - he was DPOY twice and 2nd and 3rd in DPOY voting in 84-85 and 85-86, and he was certainly a great offensive player during that time too...

Ray Allen and Brandon Roy have had more Win Shares in a season. Reggie Miller, Vince Carter, Iverson, or Drexler might also beg to differ, depending on how one may define 'peak value',

does win shares incorporate individual player defense outside of steals, blocked shots, and defensive rebounding? or does it simply divide a team's defensive success equally normalized to minutes played?
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Re: Sidney Moncrief

Postby Mike Goodman » Tue Sep 20, 2011 9:34 am

Bob, just eyeballing the '83 Bucks, it looks like several players have gotten a lot more defensive credit than Moncrief.
http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/MIL/1983.html

That's his peak year, in WS/48min, and just 1/4 of his WS that year are D-WS.
Defensive boards, as well as blocks and steals, go into this.
I don't know, but I think it's based on his DRtg -- shown as 103, while the team was 101.4 .
The Bucks' DRtg slipped to 6th in the league this year, and Sid's DWS are mostly a reflection of the team, since he's not a big Stl/Blk/DReb guy.

However, WS is very high on his super shooting% and low TO. I find these best guard seasons since 1978:
Code: Select all
WS/48   guards    yr     WS
.321   Jordan    1991   20.3
.292   Paul      2009   18.3
.270   Magic     1990   16.5
.257   Billups   2008   13.5
.239   Wade      2006   14.4

.238   Stockton  1988   14.1
.237   Brandon   1996   12.7
.235   Porter    1991   13.0
.233   Moncrief  1983   13.2
.229  A Hardaway 1996   14.4

.225   Nash      2007   12.6
.224   Kobe      2006   15.3
.223   Drexler   1992   12.8
.223   Roy       2009   13.5
.220   K Johnson 1991   12.7

.212   R Miller  1994   11.7
.211   R Allen   2001   13.7
.208   Carter    2001   12.9
.208   Rose      2011   13.1
.205   Cassell   2004   12.1

.202  D Thompson 1978   12.7
.201   Gervin    1978   12.0
McGrady isn't listed as a guard. If he were, he'd be right under Magic, for his 2003.
Moncrief had 3 years above .215, 6 above .195 WS/48
I guess .200 is a player who's twice as good as the average player in making wins happen.

One season isn't everyone's definition of Peak, of course. And others may have peaked or plateaued at different ages.
Kobe, for example, looks good from 27-30. Drexler at 25-29. Reggie 28-32. Wade 27-29 and still going.

Also, how does your simulation deal with missed games? You aren't very valuable if you aren't playing. Moncrief missed up to 9 games a couple of times, before the big breakdown.
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Re: Sidney Moncrief

Postby rlee » Wed May 27, 2015 5:24 am

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