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Wizards vs. Bucks GameThread: A look back at D.C.’s ties with the 2000-01 Milwaukee team

The Greek Freak comes to town. And here are some of the many connections the Wizards have with the last Bucks team to win 50 games!

Sam Cassell #10
Former Wizards assistant coach Sam Cassell was a member of the 2000-01 Bucks, the last Milwaukee team to win 50 regular season games.
NBA/Getty Images

The Wizards host the Bucks tonight at 7 p.m. ET. Watch the game on NBC Sports Washington. Listen to it on the Wizards mobile app or Federal News Radio 1500 AM.

Milwaukee is currently 29-11, good for second in the Eastern Conference. If they continue winning at their current pace, they will win 59 games. If they can do it, this team will be the best one since 2000-01 when the Bucks went 52-30 and made the Eastern Conference Finals.

The star for the Bucks this year is Giannis Antetokounmpo, who isn’t just a top Greak or European star — he’s all around MVP material. Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon are his sidekicks and they’ve formed one of the Eastern Conference’s top trios over the past couple seasons. In the 2000-01 season, Ray Allen was their young superstar and he was supported by Glenn Robinson and Sam Cassell as they formed a high octane offense that had the best offensive rating in the NBA.

There are several members of the 2000-01 Bucks who joined the Wizards later on in their careers. Cassell became an assistant coach for Washington in 2009 when he was on Saunders’ and Randy Wittman’s coaching staffs until 2014 when he went to the Clippers.

The late Don Newman was an assistant coach on that Bucks team and joined the Wizards in 2012 to be the lead assistant coach on Wittman’s staff until the end of the 2015-16 season.

And Ernie Grunfeld was Milwaukee’s General Manager from 1999-2003 when he played a major part building that team. He left the Bucks to come to the Wizards where he has been ever since.

But there is one more member of the 2000-01 Bucks who came to Washington and had more success here. He just isn’t on the Wizards. That credit goes to then-assistant coach Mike Thibault who joined the Mystics as their General Manager and Head Coach in 2013. In short, he’s done an excellent job rebuilding and changing the culture of the team around. Without Thibault’s ties to Grunfeld, the Mystics would have continued to meddle around for quite some time.

Though the 2000-01 Bucks were a fun team to watch on the court, this year’s Bucks team isn’t just an offensive juggernaut. They are fourth in offensive efficiency but also second in defensive efficiency! This team could make the Finals this season to be honest.

Anyway, let’s hope this year’s Wizards team gives this year’s Bucks team hell. Everybody Eats!