By Tim Gutowski Published Jun 21, 2005 at 5:03 AM

{image1}Until next Tuesday at approximately 7 p.m., debate will rage over whether the Bucks should draft Utah center Andrew Bogut or North Carolina forward Marvin Williams with the first pick in the 2005 NBA Draft.

The Bucks have been here a few times before. In 1969, they won a coin flip to earn the right to take UCLA center Lew Alcindor with the top choice, a pick that propelled the franchise to its first and only NBA championship. The Bucks also had the No. 1 pick in 1977 and 1994, but they failed to catch lightning in a bottle a second time.

The first round has been an up-and-down affair for Milwaukee since its original selection in 1968. With one of the biggest draft picks in team history pending, let's take a look at the Bucks best and worst first-round choices.

(Note: While the Bucks have drafted their share of weak players, so has everybody else. Therefore, rankings below are based on what players were still available at the time.)

Worst Five

5. Kent Benson, (1977, 1st overall): The Indiana center is one of the team's more memorable misses and deserves to be mentioned among the worst ever first-round picks. But in fairness, the Bucks also had the third and 11th picks in that draft, which they used to select Marques Johnson and Ernie Grunfeld. Benson played less than three seasons in Milwaukee before being traded to Detroit in the deal that landed Bob Lanier. Otis Birdsong went second to the Kansas City Kings.

4. (tie) Todd Day (1992, 8); Lee Mayberry (1992, 23): The Bucks took a pair of Arkansas teammates with their two first-round picks in 1992, so it's only fitting that they tie here. Day wasn't a terrible player in his four Milwaukee seasons (he averaged 16.0 points in year three), but he never lived up to expectations as a scorer. The Bucks could have taken Robert Horry, who went three picks later (as I write this, Horry just won Game 5 of the Finals for the Spurs). Point guard Mayberry isn't remembered as bitterly as Day is, but the Bucks could have chosen Alabama guard and Milwaukee native Latrell Sprewell, who went one pick later. In Mayberry's defense, however, he never choked a coach.

3. Jerry Reynolds (1985, 22): Louisiana State guard Jerry Reynolds' nickname was "Ice", as in Ice Cold; he never averaged more than 8.0 points in his three initial Bucks seasons (the team inexplicably brought him back for a 19-game encore in 1995-96). The next two picks after Reynolds were longtime Lakers forward A.C. Green and current Bucks coach Terry Porter. It's safe to say either would have been preferable.

2. Jeff Grayer (1988, 13): The Bucks weren't expecting to hit the jackpot with Iowa State's Grayer, and they didn't. He averaged no more than 9.0 points in four injury-plagued seasons. Had they the foresight, the Bucks could have nabbed future Dream Teamer Dan Majerle of Central Michigan, who Phoenix selected one pick later.

1. Robert Traylor (1998, 9): Traylor was actually taken at No. 6 by the Mavericks before the Bucks acquired him in a three-way deal involving their No. 9 and No. 19 picks. The latter was Pat Garrity, which was no great loss. But the former was Dirk Nowitzki, a little-known German who has gone on to a terrific career for the Mavericks (and he's still just 27). Maybe the Bucks can't be blamed for missing Nowitzki, but Paul Pierce, a future All-Star for Boston, was still on the board at No. 9, as well. Instead, Tractor battled weight problems and played just 93 games in two brief seasons in Milwaukee; he's currently a bench player for the Cavaliers.

Best Five

5. Glenn Robinson (1994, 1): This may be controversial, since the Big Dog's eight-year tenure was ultimately a disappointment. But Robinson was a consistently good scorer for the Bucks (21.1 points over eight years), topping out at 23.4 in 1997-98. And, of course, he was part of the Big Three that took Milwaukee to the precipice of the NBA Finals in 2001. Jason Kidd at No. 2 has had a better career (and won a title), but it's debatable whether No. 3 pick Grant Hill did. Hill was the bigger star, but injuries shortened his career and overall impact.

4. Ray Allen (1996, 5): The Bucks actually took Georgia Tech guard Stephon Marbury at No. 4 before dealing him to Minnesota for Connecticut's Allen. Like Robinson, Allen was a star who never reached the pinnacle at the Bradley Center, but he was one of the league's better players while he was a Buck (and still is in Seattle). His six-plus productive seasons in Milwaukee overshadow some pretty impressive talent that followed him in the first round, including high schoolers Kobe Bryant (13) and Jermaine O'Neal (17), and Santa Clara's Steve Nash (15).

3. Marques Johnson (1977, 3): Yes, Benson was a bust two picks before, but UCLA's Johnson was a true Bucks star in the late 1970s and early '80s. In just his second season, #8 averaged 25.6 points and established himself as one of the league's most explosive talents. During an era that featured Larry Bird in Boston and Julius Erving in Philadelphia, Johnson helped the Bucks hold their own in the Eastern Conference, where the team shifted starting in 1980-'81. Johnson was eventually dealt to the Clippers in the deal that netted Terry Cummings.

2. Sidney Moncrief (1979, 5): Other than Magic Johnson, Sir Sid was the best NBA player to emerge from the '79 Draft. A smooth offensive player and a tremendous defender (he was the Defensive POY twice), Moncrief enjoyed 10 wonderful seasons in Milwaukee before finishing his career in Atlanta. He averaged 15.6 points for his career and made four All-Star teams.

1. Lew Alcindor, (1969, 1): It's easy to forget that the man who would be Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played six seasons in Milwaukee before the blockbuster trade that sent him to the Lakers. During his tenure, Kareem averaged 28.8, 31.7, 34.8, 30.2, 27.0 and 30.0 points a game. Wow. Oh, and he never averaged fewer than 14.0 rebounds in those seasons. Wow, again. It's no wonder the Bucks won a title in just his second season, sweeping the Baltimore Bullets, 4-0. How long ago was that? Here's a hint -- the Finals that year wrapped up on April 30. The next day, Alcindor announced he would henceforward be known by his Islamic name.

Sports shots columnist Tim Gutowski was born in a hospital in West Allis and his sporting heart never really left. He grew up in a tiny town 30 miles west of the city named Genesee and was in attendance at County Stadium the day the Brewers clinched the 1981 second-half AL East crown. I bet you can't say that.

Though Tim moved away from Wisconsin (to Iowa and eventually the suburbs of Chicago) as a 10-year-old, he eventually found his way back to Milwaukee. He remembers fondly the pre-Web days of listenting to static-filled Brewers games on AM 620 and crying after repeated Bears' victories over the Packers.