After the season ended Luc made the difficult decision to turn pro, joining UCLA’s two best prospects, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love in the draft, With the 37th pick in the NBA Draft, Luc became a member of the Milwaukee Bucks.
“I never doubted it because I always knew it was the right decision from the day I made it, » Luc said. »It was the right time for me, I had great advice from my agent, when I decided to stay in the draft and I had really good work outs, all that, along with my confidence in myself, I never doubted that. »
Luc began the season spelling Charlie Villanueva off the bench, and had no trouble adjusting to the NBA. He scored six points in his first pro game and by just the fourth game of the season, he recorded his first ever NBA double-double when he scored 11 points and hauled in 13 rebounds in a win over the New York Knicks. And that wasn’t a fluke.
He dropped 17 points the very next game as the Bucks beat the Washington Wizards, and then just five games later recorded his second double-double and best game as a pro when he went off for 19 points and 17 rebounds in a Milwaukee win over Memphis. That was during a four-game stretch in which Luc went for eleven or more points per contest.
Fifteen games later, he bested that with a five-game stretch of double-digit points, as the Bucks went 3-2. Three times during that run, Luc fell just a rebound short of a double-double.
Along the way, Luc earned a reputation as a stellar defender, matching up against rangy jump shooters on the perimeter and mixing it up with bangers down low. Luc could go, in a single play, from running a full court press on another team’s starting point to putting his body up against a center posting up.
His head coach, Scott Skiles, said there was almost no learning curve for Luc when it came to playing defense.
“One week into his rookie year, » said Skiles, « he was already an NBA defender. »
It took only nine games for Luc to move into the starting rotation, and he stayed there for most of the season, hearing his name introduced before nearly two-thirds of Milwaukee games.
In his first year, he averaged 7.2 points and 5.9 rebounds. He averaged more rebounds that all but two of the rookies taken in the top ten of his draft class. The Bucs finished the season 34-48, only five games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. It was an eight-game improvement over the 2007-2008 season.
Mbah a Moute’s second season in the league saw solid progress in several important areas of his game. During the ’09-’10 NBA season, Luc Richard averaged 6.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. He also started 11 more games than in his rookie season. No. 12 also improved on his field goal percentage and three-point shooting. After not taking a shot from beyond the arc in his first season, Luc Richard sunk six three-pointers in his sophomore season for a three-point field goal percentage of 35 percent.
The Milwaukee Bucks finished that season with a 46-36 record and made an appearance in the NBA playoffs. That playoff appearance was Luc’s first exposure to the highly competitive NBA postseason. Although the Bucks lost in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, Luc Richard played extremely well for his team. He averaged 9.1 points and 5.6 rebounds per game during the seven game series. No. 12 started every game in the series and shot 52 percent from the field.
Since coming into the league, Luc has been a model of consistency. In his third season, he averaged 6.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. He shot 70 percent from the free throw line and 46 percent from the floor. He also continued the strong defensive ability that has earned him praise from his coaches and peers since his rookie season.
After the ’10-’11 season ended, the Prince became a restricted free agent. He signed a four-year offer sheet during that offseason with the Denver Nuggets. But his restricted status allowed the Bucks to match any offer that Luc Richard received. They did just that and resigned him to an identical contract.
« Coach Skiles told me he wanted me back. They stayed true to their words, » Luc said after re-signing. « I’m still going to be playing as hard as I can when I get out there. I’m in a situation where I quadrupled my salary, and anybody in that situation should be happy… It’s a blessing to be in this position. »
During the NBA lockout shortened season of 2012, Luc experienced his strongest statistical season as a professional. He averaged 7.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game while shooting a career-best 51 person from the floor. But a knee injury limited him for most of the year and the Bucks again fell short of their playoff goal.
After a two-year drought, the Bucks returned to the playoffs during the 2012-2013 season. Luc got off to a slow start in the regular season, but after missing the first month due to offseason surgery, he played in 58 of Milwaukee’s final 68 games, including 45 starts. In that time, LRMAM averaged 6.7 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. He also gained some confidence from beyond the arc as the season went on and took a career-high 37 three point shots, sinking 35 percent of them.
More importantly, Luc was the same defensive presence he had been in years past, helping the Bucks reach the playoffs for the second time in his five seasons. The playoff trip, however, was short lived as the Bucks were bounced in four games by the Miami Heat, who went on to win their second straight NBA title.