Is This the Year for the Bucks?

It has been a long time since there was a tip-off of an NBA basketball game, but that could be changing shortly. With many sports restarting across the globe, basketball will be following suit soon and we can finally enjoy some games once again. 

The biggest question on everybody’s lips will become who is going to take the title this year. It’s not surprising that the Lakers are listed as favorites, but many experts and those close to the game believe it could be the year for the Milwaukee Bucks.

After several years of struggle, the Lakers now find themselves back in the running for yet another championship celebration, led of course by living legend LeBron James and the young superstar Anthony Davis. LeBron is seeking his fourth title, with Davis looking for his very first. 

On the other side of the spectrum, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the high flying Bucks have been in absolutely incredible form, putting their name in the hat to win the championship, and as mentioned above, many believe they are actually the ones to beat, and not the Lakers. 

Before the COVID-19 pandemic brought a halt to the season, the Bucks had the best record in the league and were close to taking the number 1 spot in the Eastern Conference. Now with the reformatting of the season, and barring a ridiculous downfall, Milwaukee remains in good shape to enter the postseason as the number 1 seed in the East. 

Securing the number 1 seed will also ensure the Bucks will face off, most likely, against the Orlando Magic or Washington Wizards. A much more favorable road to the finals will be the case if the team does not have to battle the 76ers, Celtics or Raptors, early in the proceedings.

The unchanged format of the league is also going to help the Bucks advance to the finals because the conferences are not going to be changed or altered, meaning the Bucks will play teams they can easily beat, and will not have to meet the Lakers or Clippers, the other two favorites to join the Bucks in the Finals.  

If the Bucks do indeed make their way through the East and reach the finals against the aforementioned Lebron James, Anthony Davis and the LA Lakers,  it will be a tough mountain to climb, but the Bucks have the stats and players you just can’t ignore. 

The Bucks are the highest scoring team in the league this season, as well as boasting the best defensive efficiency in the sport. Meaning Lebron, Davis and the Lakers are going to have to be at their best to stop the rampant Bucks. 

An additional factor may involve the Lakers and Clippers having to overcome one another, before getting their shot against the Bucks. Many believe that the Clippers can pull off a win, and if they do and get to the finals, that could actually be an easier set of games for the Bucks. 

What could trip the Bucks many Eastern Conference advantages? The Bucks were 28-3 on their home court this season, with only the 76ers having a better record at 29-2. Losing that hometown magic could be a big sticking point for the Bucks, considering that all the games will be played at a neutral site. 

The rescheduling of the league, as well as the unique circumstance of playing at a neutral venue, is sure to offer some surprises. There won’t be any type of home court advantage, no fans and it will be very different compared to what these players are used to. 

Considering that this is almost like a fresh restart since there hasn’t been any games in ages, with training also being so much different than normal, there's no telling how teams will perform, and even less is known about how the new conditions will affect the league as a whole. 

There is talk about players being isolated in a DisneyWorld bubble, and this could be a good thing especially for teams like the Bucks who are not used to the big stage. Social isolation and zero fans may allow Milwaukee to focus on their play, come together as a team and win.

What is becoming quite clear is that previous successes might actually have no bearing on the title race. It has been a long time since any basketball was played, and there is no telling how this extended break has affected teams and players. 

You can look at other sports to see how time off has changed the game, teams look a bit sluggish and lethargic, and this can easily happen to basketball teams too, with one or two slip-ups quickly changing the future of your season. 

It will be interesting to see if the Bucks come out as strong as they were playing before the suspension. If the Lakers and Clippers are in top form, and teams like the Magic, 76ers and Raptors start firing, it will look less like a guarantee for the Bucks to get to the finals. 

Either way, we are just going to have to wait and see what this new, once in a lifetime looking season will bring. Will the Bucks have what it takes to grab hold of the trophy? Or will the stalwart Lakers rise up again and take the trophy back to the City of Angels?