It is time to throw away the American inferiority complex with its place in the sport, where many blindly claim that technique should come above all in choosing and developing the best prospects and that the U.S. is not an international power because it cares too much about athleticism.
Far-Fetched Friday: The Milwaukee Bucks Win the 2020-2021 NBA Finals
By: Khaqan Khan
Over the last few seasons, the Milwaukee Bucks have had a real 'the boy who cried wolf' energy to them, which made many people discount the strides they made in the regular season. But after absolutely dominating the Miami Heat off the floor, the Bucks are locked in.
Welcome back to Far-Fetched Friday, where every Friday we give you a bold prediction that we believe will come to fruition. This Friday, we look at a potential championship for the city of Milwaukee.
The Bucks have an advantage in every game because they might have the best player in the world in Giannis Antetokounmpo. Head coach Mike Budenholzer has done a good job of adding wrinkles to the offense to make the Bucks less predictable and allowing Giannis a chance to be great. More Pick-and-Roll using Giannis as the screener, more creative sets to get Giannis Post ups, and just overall more variety in the offense. In addition, the Bucks front office did a great job of adding players that bring a certain level of physicality and toughness in PJ Tucker, Jrue Holiday, and Crazy eyes Bobby Portis.
Particularly, by going out and adding Jrue Holiday, who, in my opinion, is still the most underrated player in the league, the Bucks add another dimension with a guy who can create for himself and hit tough shots (unlike Eric Bledsoe).
I still don't think people realize how good Jrue Holiday is.
Watching him defend multiple positions and harass the offensive player is a thing of beauty. His offense is built for the playoffs. Jrue Holiday hasn't had many chances to show what he can do in the playoffs, but I really think he will blow people away with the degree of difficulty of the shots he makes and how he loves to seek out contact.
Headed into this Bucks vs. Nets series, there are a lot of underlying storylines. My favorite storyline is that we finally get Giannis vs. Harden after years of back and forth.
Perhaps the most important storyline is can this Bucks defense slow down the Nets offense. It's a matchup between some of the better three individual defenders in Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday versus the three historically best shot makers in James Harden, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant.
There's probably no stopping the big 3 of the Nets from putting up numbers, but there are not that many teams better equipped than the Bucks to slow them down. And If they do manage that, they give themselves a solid chance to win because I can't see how Brooklyn defends Giannis. DeAndre Jordan, Nic Claxton, or Kevin Durant? If I'm Brooklyn, none of those three make me confident. It's also hard to do what the Raptors and the Heat did in fashioning a wall to stop Giannis when you have Irving, Harden, and Durant on the floor at the same time.
It'll be interesting to see how this plays out. The Bucks defense looked great against a poor offensive team in the Heat. The Nets looked unstoppable against a depleted Celtics team.
If the Bucks make it past the Nets, they either have to play the Philadelphia 76ers or the Atlanta Hawks. The Bucks should be favorites against the Hawks. The Knicks in the first round couldn't figure out how to take advantage of the mismatch with Trae Young. It doesn't have to be Giannis; Middleton and Holiday can abuse Young on offense and defense. The Bucks are also better equipped to slow down the deadly pick-and-roll the Hawks used to punish the Knicks.
As far as playing the 76ers, it all depends on the health of Joel Embiid, who's currently day-to-day with a torn meniscus, an injury that usually takes a few weeks to return. If Embiid is healthy, look for a cage match of a series in the Western Conference Finals.
The Milwaukee Bucks not only have the talent to win it all, but they now also have the confidence to win it all. They have an incredible defense backed by incredible individual defenders. They have unlikely X-factors coming off the bench in Portis and Bryn Forbes. On offense, they have multiple players that can get their own shot in crunch time and collectively take the pressure off each other. Budenholzer has responded to criticisms and began making adjustments.
Most importantly, they have Giannis Antetokounmpo. When you might have the best player in the world, you're always going to have a chance.
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