NBA Draft: Evaluating Every Milwaukee Bucks 1st-Round Pick

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How amazing would a team with Julius Erving, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson have been?

We Hardly Knew Ye

These are picks the Bucks made that never found their way into a Bucks’ uniform, for whatever reason.

1971, No. 17 overall: Collis Jones, F, Notre Dame
After winning their lone NBA title, Milwaukee tabbed the Notre Dame forward with the final pick in Round 1. But Jones was also drafted by the ABA’s Dallas Chaparrals and opted to sign with the other league.

Jones played for three teams in four years in the ABA and never ended up in the NBA. During his time with the Chaparrals, Kentucky Colonels and Memphis Sounds, Jones averaged 8.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 298 games, averaging 20.9 minutes and shooting .454/.214/.702.

1972, No. 12 overall: Julius Erving, F, Massachusetts
This is the pick that leads many fans of a certain age to contemplate the “what ifs.” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Oscar Robertson and Dr. J? On the same team? It would have been phenomenal.

But it was not to be. Erving had actually signed the year before, 1971, with the Virginia Squires of the ABA as an undrafted free agent, as he was not eligible for the NBA Draft as an underclassman in 1971. Erving did come to the NBA briefly in the 1972-73 preseason, signing with the Atlanta Hawks, who were fined $75,000 because Erving’s rights in the NBA belonged to Milwaukee.

We know how his career turned out—Hall of Famer, three-time ABA MVP, NBA MVP, two ABA titles with the New York Nets, an NBA championship with the Philadelphia 76ers (since Milwaukee’s claim to Erving’s rights was voided when the Nets joined the NBA as part of the 1976 merger between the rival leagues).

In all, Erving was pretty good. In five ABA seasons, he averaged 28.7 points, 12.1 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 2.4 steals and 2.0 blocks in 40.7 minutes a game, shooting .504/.322/.778. In 11 seasons in the NBA, his marks were 22 points, 6.7 rebounds,  3.9 assists, 1.8 steals, 1.8 blocks in 34.3 minutes and a line of .507/.261/.777.

1990, No. 16 overall: Terry Mills, F, Michigan
The Bucks drafted Mills in the first round after a solid three-year career at Michigan that included a national championship and a 13.8 points per game scoring average.

But a little more than a month after the draft, the Bucks shipped Mills’ rights to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for veteran center Danny Schayes.

In 11 NBA seasons, Mills played for the Nuggets, New Jersey Nets, Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers, averaging 10.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 27.2 minutes, shooting .460/.393/.792.

1991, No. 18 overall): Kevin Brooks, F, Louisiana-Lafayette
The Bucks took Brooks, who had averaged more than 20 points a game as a sophomore, junior and senior for the Ragin’ Cajuns, but five days later, sent him to the Denver Nuggets as part of a three-team deal.

The Bucks shipped Brooks’ rights to the Nuggets along with a 1994 second-round pick, while the Bucks got back the rights to the No. 15 overall pick in the 1991 draft, forward Anthony Avent from Seton Hall.

Brooks played three seasons in Denver, averaging 3.3 points and 1.1 rebounds in 8.2 minutes per game, shooting .401/.200/.859.

2011, No. 10 overall: Jimmer Fredette, G, BYU
The Bucks took the national player of the year in the 2011 draft, but shipped his rights to the Sacramento Kings later on draft night in a three-team deal that included the Charlotte Bobcats.

The Bucks got Stephen Jackson and Shaun Livingston from Charlotte and Beno Udrih from Sacramento, while giving up the rights to Fredette along with John Salmons to the Kings and Corey Maggette to the Bobcats.

Fredette hasn’t exactly been a rousing success in the NBA. He was waived by Sacramento in February and wound up with the Chicago Bulls, who thought so much of him that he was a DNP-Coach’s Decision for all five games of their first-round loss to the Washington Wizards. He only played in eight of the 21 games he was in uniform for with the Bulls in the regular season.

In three seasons, he has averaged 6.9 points, 1.5 assists and 1.1 rebounds per game in 14.6 minutes a night, shooting .417/.401/.857. He will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.