Milwaukee Bucks: Fact or Fictionby Ben Fadden August 21, 2021 0 comments
The Milwaukee Bucks are the defending NBA champions. Star Giannis Antetokounmpo proved all of his doubters wrong in the playoffs, not only playing tremendous defense but also making the most of his free throws when it mattered most. Time will tell if he can do it again in this coming season’s playoffs.
For now, let’s make some predictions. There are many statements being made about this year’s squad, but we’ve got you covered with our Fact or Fiction series. It features the biggest claims being made about the Bucks and gives you the answer with a decisive fact or fiction.
The Bucks are Title Favorites
Milwaukee had a tremendous run last postseason that many people didn’t expect; that’s what made it so great. Antetokounmpo got to prove everyone wrong by winning a title with a small market team. But you can’t talk about the Bucks’ championship without mentioning injuries. The Brooklyn Nets likely would have defeated Milwaukee if James Harden and Kyrie Irving were fully healthy. If Kawhi Leonard stepped on the court, the Los Angeles Clippers likely would have been the Western Conference representative and given the Bucks a run for their money.
As we move into this year, the Nets should be the favorites. If they are healthy, there’s nobody who can beat them in a best-of-seven series. Brooklyn was up 2-0 on Milwaukee in the second round before Irving went down. Even without Irving and Harden, Brooklyn would’ve beaten the Bucks if Durant’s toe was behind the three-point line at the end of Game 7. It also doesn’t help that the Nets improved by drafting Cameron Thomas and picking up Patty Mills in free agency.
The Bucks, meanwhile, weren’t able to bring back P.J. Tucker. He made it tough on Durant throughout the entire series. You could argue that the Miami Heat are contenders now, too. They didn’t just add Tucker but brought in Kyle Lowry as well.
Heading into the season, Milwaukee is the second-best team in the Eastern Conference. A big three of Durant, Irving, and Harden is unstoppable if healthy.
Verdict: Fiction, It’s Hard to Repeat if Brooklyn is Healthy
Giannis Is the Best Player in the World
As mentioned earlier, Antetokounmpo officially has everyone’s respect after his Finals performance. He’s the third player in NBA history to win MVP, Finals MVP, and Defensive Player of the Year. The other two are Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon. That’s pretty good company.
However, Durant is the best player in the world right now (explanation here). It’s no knock on Antetokounmpo, but Durant might be one of the 10 best players in NBA history.
Verdict: Fiction, it’s Durant
The Bucks Got Better this Offseason
Usually, when you win a championship, there isn’t much you can do to improve your team. It’s more about signing your own players back. Milwaukee did that for the most part. They re-upped with Bobby Portis, who is a fan favorite and averaged more than 11 points a game. However, the front office didn’t bring back Tucker or Bryn Forbes. Forbes would’ve been valuable next season to give Holiday or Middleton some rest after coming off a long postseason and Olympics win. Tucker was instrumental to their championship run because he was willing to foul out if it meant the other team didn’t get as many easy shots. Thus, it’s hard to say the Bucks improved when they didn’t bring back a couple of their important players.
To be fair, the Bucks did pick up Grayson Allen, who could be this season’s version of Tucker. However, he isn’t really a game-changer and averaged just 10 points per game for the first time last season. Teams that really improved are the Nets and Los Angeles Lakers. The latter acquired future Hall of Famer Russell Westbrook while the former already had plenty of firepower but still found a way to improve their depth by signing Mills and Jevon Carter while keeping Blake Griffin and Bruce Brown.
Verdict: Fiction, Milwaukee Replaced Players Instead of Adding to the Championship Team
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