In the 2018-19 playoffs, Milwaukee Bucks were almost winning the Eastern Conference finals. But after Raptors coach Nick Nurse sensed danger, he bumped Kawhi Leonard into Antetokounmpo. Toronto went ahead and won four straight games together with the finals against Warriors.
Kawhi Leonard carried Raptors throughout the playoffs, Giannis Antetokounmp was not good as Leonard. Given that Kawhi is no longer in Toronto, Milwaukee could be the contending champion of the Eastern Conference next season. The last season experience in the playoffs will be a big boost to them. They will remember how Giannis played, an all go round and the whole defense focused on him.
One GM has gone to the extent of telling CBS Sports that Milwaukee should win the championship. He admitted that no team in the East should beat them, and the West will only focus in beating one another. He said Bucks are favorite to win.
In the East, Philadelphia and Boston are the only teams which can compete against Bucks. But even if they win in the East, they will have to go through Kawhi, a star who can single-handedly steer a team to victory.
The CBS scouts also added that Milwaukee could win a lot of games in the regular season, but get a disappointment during playoffs. This is because nobody can guard Giannis, but in the playoffs, five guys will edge him off and with that he will get frustrated.
Bucks have lost the shooting of Nikola Mirotic, and they allowed restricted free agent Malcolm Brogdon to walk away in a trade. Bucks will rely heavily on Giannis and Brook Lopez.
Giannis is already an MVP and best defensive player in the league, but he has a long way to go to reach Kawhi standard. Giannis is a player who is craving to be best, and it is foolish to rule out that he can’t develop the instincts and skill like other stars.
The question is, when will it happen? Giannis will be a free agent after the 2020-21 season. He may or may not stay in Milwaukee any longer. That may depend on how Bucks will win. The people around the league are saying Bucks should be the favorites, and this is only adding pressure on them to work toward their expectations.