The Milwaukee Bucks stomped through the 2021 playoffs, going 16-7 before winning the title. The national media gave Giannis and company their due credit for what seemed like a week, then the asterisks began to fly.
We heard things like:
The Nets extended the Bucks to seven games in the Eastern Conference Semis even though James Harden and Kyrie Irving were banged up during that series.
The Atlanta Hawks were a mediocre squad that didn’t have the experience to beat the Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Suns were under-matched in the finals and only made it to the penultimate round because they faced the Lakers without AD in the first round, the Nuggets without Jamal Murray in the semis, and the Clippers without Kawhi Leonard in the Western Conference Finals.
During the summer, nearly every basketball expert had the Nets, and the Lakers ranked over Milwaukee this season.
The Bucks were listening.
They came out and blasted the much-hyped Nets by 23 points on opening night, putting the league on notice that they’re still the best team in the NBA.
Next, we’ll give five reasons the defending champs are at the top of our power rankings.
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo Is The Best Player In The World
Here’s 26-year-old, Giannis Antetokounmpo’s resume:
- 2021 NBA Champion
- NBA Finals MVP
- 2x NBA MVP
- Defensive Player Of The Year
- Most Improved Player
- 5x NBA All-Star
- NBA All-Star Game MVP
- 5x All-NBA Team
And yet, nearly every major sports website had Kevin Durant ranked ahead of Giannis going into the season. Many sites also had Luka Doncic in front of Giannis and even LeBron James.
Giannis dropped a cool 32 points, 14 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 blocks to go along with a game-high +25 +/- rating against the favored Brooklyn Nets. Most NBA players would kill for those types of numbers just once in their career, but somehow they fall in line with “The Greek Freak’s” stats from last season, where he averaged 28.1 PPG, 11 RPG, 5.9 APG, and 1.2 BPG.
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