Well, the 2020 NBA Playoffs are upon us. With its Disney Bubble premise in full effect, 16 teams are squaring off to determine this year’s champion. While it’s hard to think that there won’t be an asterisk next to the 2020 title, a champion will be crowned.
The NBA is a fickle beast. Star-driven and tank-friendly, teams in the dumpster one year can be the king of the mountain the next. With that, stakes are high for almost every team as they make their playoff run, with sought-after stars often heading for greener pastures if they feel their squad can’t get over the hump.
We’re looking at each of the NBA playoff contenders and diving into what’s at stake for each team, the odds of making a deep run, and key storylines to watch.
To kick things off, we’ll look at the Eastern Conference favorite – the Milwaukee Bucks.
Expectations: Eastern Conference Champs.
It’s no debate: the Bucks are the class of the East. At 5/2 Vegas odds, they are the safe bet to make it out of a thin Eastern Conference.
What’s Working for Them
Size and shooting. Across the board, the Bucks have size at every position. Typically, you’d expect that to mean the team plays around the rim, bruising style game that wears down opposing teams. Make no mistake – the Bucks CAN do that, particularly when Giannis is in takeover mode. Their #1 rank in Defensive Rating proves what that size can do.
But the real threat is in their outside shooting. While it has been inconsistent at a team level, you have three guys in Middleton, Korver, and George Hill that knock it down at a 40+% clip. Middleton is a deadly #2 option behind Giannis and Korver has made a career on big shots. With those guys spreading the floor, Giannis owns the paint and the Bucks become an absolute wagon.
What Might Hold Them Back
The bench. This is a top-heavy team, particularly on offense. While it’s true the rotation shortens in the playoffs, you can’t rely on 1-2 guys to get it done every single night. The Bucks lean on Giannis and Middleton but things become murky after that. With a bench full of shooters, they face a tough road when the shots aren’t falling. Deep in a playoff run, Giannis could lose some steam and the Bucks may not have the talent around him to fall back on.
Storyline to Watch
When looking ahead for the Bucks, anything less than an Eastern Conference Championship is an abject failure. The Bucks have had a couple of runs as the East’s top seed. So what happens if they don’t take the East?
This is a star driven league and make no mistake – Giannis is this team. But, he also only has next season under contract. Does a poor run make Giannis run for greener pastures? It seems he’s wanted to stick it out in Milwaukee. However, history remembers the rings and Giannis may be the start of the next super team.
Just please, for the love of God, don’t take your talents to South Beach. Or LA…
- / 11 months ago
To me, Rachel Nichols is the personification of posting a black square on Instagram.