Storylines from the NBA finals

Storylines from the NBA finals
July 29
11:03 2021

The Milwaukee Bucks have won the second NBA Championship in the history of their franchise. The Bucks took out the Phoenix Suns 4-2 in the series and now every team not named Milwaukee is trying to figure out what they need to do in order for them to hoist the Larry O’Brian Trophy.

This series was an intriguing one involving two nearly polar opposite teams. The Bucks are a big veteran team that likes to play at a slower pace and use their size to overpower their opponents. The Suns, on the other hand, are the young guns that no one expected to get there that enjoy playing fast and free.

Early on, it looked as though the young Suns had the upper hand in the series as they jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the series. Once the series shifted to Milwaukee, the momentum of the series shifted to the Bucks and it never left.

The big difference was really the last six minutes of games two through six. The Bucks made all the necessary plays to win and the Suns made immature mistakes like turnovers or ill-advised shots that cost them in the end. Even with veteran point guard Chris Paul leading the way, Phoenix could not get over the hump when it counted.

Giannis Antetokounmpo was named MVP of the finals. A well-deserved honor for him as he dominated the series and even scored 50 points in the series, clinching Game 6 win. “The Greek Freak” averaged 35.2 ppg. and 13.2 rebs. in the six games of the finals. It was one of the greatest finals’ runs that I have ever seen from one player in my lifetime of being a sports lover.

I try to be as neutral and impartial as I can while watching a championship series or game. For this series, I have to admit that I was totally hoping Suns’ guard Chris Paul would win his first championship. The guy has improved every team he has gone to from their previous season and took this Suns’ team to heights no one expected them to reach.

I really thought the Suns had a great chance at winning the series after they went up 2-0 over the Bucks. Unfortunately, Paul’s play seemed to deteriorate slightly every game and that small drop in his game really impacted the young Suns. Couple that with the crunch time mistakes made by several Suns’ players and that was a recipe for disaster.

People have been questioning Paul’s ability to lead a team to a championship for years and this won’t help his case at all. Now that the season is over, questions on where Paul will play next year will start to get more plentiful.  

There have already been rumors about the Los Angeles Lakers being interested in Paul’s services. I would hate to see Paul build the Suns back into a contender and then leave to join a superteam. Even though I don’t want him to leave Phoenix for an established contender, I can understand if he chose to do so. Paul has put in years of work and I would not be mad at him for doing what many other superstars have done in the last several years.

I will be anxiously waiting to see what Paul decides this offseason. He is slated to make $44 million next season, but he does have an opt-out clause in his contract. That means he actually can join any team he wishes if he decides to opt-out. I don’t envision him wanting to go to a rebuilding team; instead, if he leaves, he will more than likely choose a contender.

I would hate for Paul to end his career without a championship. Although players like Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, John Stockton and Karl Malone are all first ballot hall of fame players, they all walked away from the game without a championship. Imagine how differently we would view those players had they each won at least one ring. Regardless of a ring, Paul still ranks in my top three point guards of all time.

For the Bucks and Antetokounmpo, this championship came right on time. Many people were questioning head coach Mike Budenholzer’s coaching style throughout the playoffs. Now that they have won the championship, those questions have gone away. After some early playoff exits the previous two seasons, Budenholzer’s job may have been on the line if they did not win it all.

Antetokounmpo has continued to improve his game, even though he has not developed a jump shot and is sketchy from the free throw line. The Suns did not use the similar tactic used by other teams against Antetokounmpo, which is to build a wall of defenders in the lane and prevent him from playing his style of bully ball.  

I have seen Antetokounmpo’s name come up in the best player in the league conversation since winning the championship. Admittedly, it was a great run by Antetokounmpo, but he still has a way to go to become the best player in the league. 

All in all, the NBA playoffs were very entertaining, even though there were a lot of injuries to star players. 

Congratulations to the Milwaukee Bucks.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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