Well, hello there.
When last we left you, the Milwaukee Bucks mauled the Miami Heat in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, only to decapitate the Brooklyn Nets and the Atlanta Hawks on their way to the NBA Finals. That’s super cute and all, but Giannis and them are about to get eviscerated by the Phoenix Suns. Please allow me to present my case to the jury.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, whose right stick may or may not be broken, already had a Ball Handle rating of like 57 in NBA2K. Add a hyperextended knee to the mix—which has already cost him two games and counting and can take up to four weeks to heal—and the Bucks are fucked. Meanwhile, over in the Valley of the Sun, Chris Paul and them have been handing the best teams in the league their asses all postseason despite CP3-to-6-Weeks catching COVID and playing through a shoulder contusion, and Devin Booker continuing to do the Lord’s work with one-third of a face. The Suns are the healthier team when it matters most and even if Giannis returns in the Finals, don’t expect him to have anywhere near the same lateral movement or explosion. Jrue the Damaja and the rest of them boys bout to lose.
I’m trying my best to be a beacon of light so I won’t name names, but I really had a nigga try to argue with me on the 4th of July that one of the Bucks’ strengths during the postseason has been their shooting from beyond the arc. Somewhere between my 13th cheeseburger and 37th hot dog I yelled, “Are you fucking high?!” and “Do you watch basketball?!” at least three times because I was tired of this poor, misguided soul embarrassing our ancestors—who were watching from the heavens, shaking their head in disbelief.
Yes, during the regular season, the Bucks were cooking up from three all year (they were 5th in the league at a 38.9 percent clip), but they’ve fallen off harder than Alicia Keys in the playoffs. (We still love you Alicia, but the music? Not so much.) They’re shooting 31 percent from deep in the postseason, and the only teams who’ve shot worse both got elbow dropped from the top turnbuckle in the first round (the Lakers and Wizards). The Suns, however, shot 37.8 percent from deep during the regular season and have kept that same energy throughout the playoffs (37.3 percent). Giannis and them boys bout to lose.
Does this really require an explanation? Khris Middelton and them boys bout to lose.
They don’t exploit mismatches, they barely run any plays or make adjustments, they put Jrue Holiday on a guy playing on one leg and never put Giannis on Kevin Durant in their series against the Nets (and basically lucked out that KD got gassed), they commit stupid fouls, etc. Shall I go on or just point at Mike Budenholzer and call it a day?
Brook Lopez and them boys bout to lose.
As painful as it’s been to watch Giannis take an eternity to shoot his free throws, it’s been even more nauseating watching him airball them.
This gross inaccuracy has spread like a virus throughout the rest of the team, with the Bucks shooting only 71.3 percent from the line during the postseason (they shot 76 percent during the regular season). The Suns, however, pretty much don’t miss from the stripe. They were second in the league as a team prior to the playoffs (83.4 percent) and have shot even better during their march to the finals (86.2 percent). Neither team shoots a lot of them, but that’s a significant advantage. Especially with the game on the line in the closing seconds. Do you really want Giannis at the stripe with 1.3 seconds left on the clock? P.J. Tucker and them boys bout to lose.
For 16 seasons, CP3 has fought the good fight to no avail. He’s easily the most decorated player to have never won an NBA championship and if you believe otherwise, check his resume:
As the most accomplished player to have never reached the NBA Finals—name another player who’s played in as many playoff games, earned as many All-NBA and All-Star nods, and scored as many points in the postseason—the fact that he’s finally reached the promised land in Phoenix couldn’t be more fitting.
Yes, these playoffs have been impacted by significant injuries like never before and both the Suns and Bucks have benefited along the way (let’s not act like a healthy Brooklyn team wouldn’t have swept Milwaukee in the second round), but how many times have we seen CP3 lose out on his chance to make NBA history due to bad luck and freak injuries? For all that he’s given the game, I refuse to downplay the significance of winning an NBA title this season when Paul finally becomes an NBA champion.