So the past couple of days I have given you some hypotheticals that have given some teams a chance to win the NBA Finals, which in any universe would be impossible. There was alien abductions, mass amount of player injuries, and some truly unbelievable historical occurrences. But thats all over, all of the teams I will go through now will be given real opportunities to win the championship. This first team with a real shot has one of the best young talents in the league, and possibly the best player of the future.
The Milwaukee Bucks have lacked hope in the new millennium. Since their Conference Finals appearance in 2001 the Bucks have made the playoffs 7 times but have yet to advance to the second round. With a possible matchup against a depleted Boston Celtics team or a Toronto Raptors team that has looked uncomfortable over the last month, there is hope for some upsets. Although they will need some help along the way, there is a chance that Giannis Antetokounmpo can reach another level and be the best player on the court every night.
Lets say the Bucks finish in the 8 seed. They will face off against the Raptors in the first round. The Raptors have gone 4-5 since March 18th with only one win coming against a playoff opponent. The Bucks length could win them this series, with 8.8 steals per game, they can win the points off of turnovers race since the Raptors average 13.2 turnovers per game. A lot of questions have been raised about the Bucks offensive production, yet they actually have a better field goal percentage than the Raptors with a .480 to .472 advantage. This number can only increase over a series with a higher usage of Giannis, who will dominate the mid-range game. There is no player on the Raptors who can guard him, and with the help of the Raptors turnovers and their annual choke job, the Bucks will win this series in 7 games and Eric Bledsoe will dab in front of Drake.
Their matchup in the second round will be one that will be very tough for them. Playing against the young and hot Philadelphia 76ers. With the size and power of the Bucks, they will continue to pound the paint and will get guys like Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons to get into foul trouble early in games. The Bucks gain more free throws per game than the 76ers with a rate of 24.4 to 22.9 per 100 possessions. Guys like Malcolm Brogdon, Jabari Parker, and Khris Middleton will be aggressive from start to finish. The last time the 76ers and Bucks matched up, the Bucks came out on top. The Bucks forced 26 turnovers and won the points off of turnovers race by a score of 36-11. Giannis dropped 34 points and a 58-38 second half gave the Bucks a big win at home. If the Bucks can get that kind of play for just 4 out of 7 games, they will find themselves in the Eastern Conference Finals.
This is where things begin to really get tough. Giannis against Lebron. The future face of the league against a man who has been the face for about 10 years now. In many cases, Giannis is a younger, longer, more athletic form of Lebron. And in a 7 games series, the depth of the Bucks could prove too much for one man. The defense of the Cleveland Cavaliers has been, in a word, bad all season. They allow 109.7 points per game and force fewer turnovers per game than the Bucks. Brandon Jennings will come off the bench and feast on guys like George Hill and Jose Calderon. It will have to be the Giannis moment, he will have to go toe-to-toe with Lebron and be slightly better than him at every phase of the game. He will average a triple-double over 7 games, and will finally catapult an Eastern Conference team that doesn’t have Lebron into the NBA Finals.
After getting past Lebron, the NBA Finals will seem to be a breeze to the Bucks with their matchup against the Houston Rockets. Matthew Dellavedova and Jason Terry’s minutes will skyrocket as they will bring their NBA Championship experience to the series. There is little to no stats that the Rockets don’t lead in this season, so numbers won’t tell the story. The Bucks will win with grit, and will have the best player on the floor every night. Giannis will take it upon himself to guard James Harden, and he will successfully limit his big plays. Thon Maker will have his moment as well as he will continue to shoot his three point shot that has improved over his young career which will stretch the defense and allow John Henson to dominate the boards. Giannis will follow his performance with another triple-double average over a 6 game series and Milwaukee will hoist the trophy in front of their fans for the first time since 1971.
Here's to hoping Giannis can jump over another man, but this time on the biggest stage of them all...
Just a man trying to make the most of his time on this planet.