As the countdown to the resumption and completion of the 2019-20 NBA season approaches, the topic has turned back to predicting who will lift the championship trophy at the end of all of this.
Each conference has some clear contenders to be there, but the Milwaukee Bucks enter the bubble with the best record in the NBA. Can they keep it up? That was the big question on the NBA Countdown season preview on Saturday as Michael Wilbon, Jay Williams, Jalen Rose, and Paul Pierce debated which Eastern Conference team will make it to the championship.
Despite Milwaukee’s dominance, Wilbon backed the Toronto Raptors to make it to the Finals due to their championship experience and excellent defense against players like Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Paul’s pick, on the other hand, was a surprise to some but not to most who know The Truth.
“You know what that tells me? It just tells me that the Eastern Conference is wide open, and a lot of people don’t have a lot of faith in the Milwaukee Bucks. And they’ve been dominant all year long; Defensively, offensively they have the best player. It just shows and tells me that the East is wide open because I believe that the Boston Celtics have a legit shot at it too. I think they’re deeper, they’ve got the experience, and Jayson Tatum, the way he’s been playing before the break, he’s been playing like a Top 5/Top 10 player. If he can continue with those strides, he could lead the Boston Celtics to the finals.”
Pierce’s statement was also agreed upon by Williams, but Rose was the one analyst to pick the Bucks to make it to the Finals. Watch their full analysis below.
Led by the reigning MVP Giannis the Bucks are attempting to make the NBA finals for the first time since 1974. However, they will meet several challenging teams in the playoffs, some of whom have had time to improve their play and recover from injuries due to the long break.
The Truth believes many teams have a shot at taking the Bucks out before they reach the finals. Here’s what he had to say to his fellow analysts on NBA Countdown.
“It’s not that we didn’t pick the Bucks, Jalen, and I’m going to tell you this, Jorge. I think there’s about three teams in the East that can legitimately beat the Bucks, and here’s why. Because I’m not all the way sold on the bucks, although they have the best player, they probably have the MVP, most likely. They have great depth in coaching. But a lot of it is like, when you look at the stars, you know, the stars win in this league. And I just think other teams have bigger stars than the Bucks.
This lack of star power from the Bucks is a large source of doubt for any playoff run they might make. The depth of the Bucks is quite lackluster to many, including Pierce, who questions who would carry them if Giannis was having an off night.
“Now, there’s going to be nights where Giannis is going to be scouted down to the T. He’s not going to be able to get the 35 and 15, 6 assists. And then it’s like, who’s going to be that guy that can carry them that night. On my championship teams, if it wasn’t me it was Kevin, we had Ray, who’s that guy on the Bucks. Do we have faith in Middleton? He’s the other lone all-star on this team. So, when I look around the East, and I look at teams like Philly, who have size, who can match-up with the Milwaukee Bucks. When I look at Boston, they have the versatility and the forwards who can put numerous guys on Giannis, and then the Raptors, they’re the defending champs… you can’t take nothing away from the heart of a champion.”
Catch this discussion about Giannis and the Bucks down below on NBA Countdown.