The recent NBA offseason is a lopsided one. Teams acquired key players, lost some vital ones, upgraded themselves — while the others posted for a roster rebuild. As such, the talk in town remains for the Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Brooklyn, pumped up for a season of vengeance, saw the return of LaMarcus Aldridge who came out of a brief retirement due to heart complications and the claiming of reliable point shooter Patty Mills. Though star point guard Kyrie Irving was shelved by the team until acquiring full availability with regards to Covid-19 vaccine, the one-two punch of Kevin Durant and James Harden is enough for the Nets to transform into a most fearful one within the NBA’s war room. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Lakers, in spite of the age issues being thrown out, is being led by the four-time MVP LeBron James, refreshed stalwart big Anthony Davis, and the newcomer star guard Russell Westbrook.
But from the words of ESPN analyst Doris Burke, where’s the love for the reigning title holders — the Milwaukee Bucks?
Having conversations with play-by-play announcer Dave Pasche about those favorites to win the championship in the upcoming season, the female broadcaster argued in a preseason game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Charlotte Hornets that the Bucks are not receiving the flowers they deserve — hearing “disrespect” from fans around the league.
“I think we better not underestimate the defending champs,” Burke pointed out further.
Milwaukee, marching towards the 75th season of the league, has a sky high morale while wearing that shining second championship badge — fresh from the triumph in the recent Finals against Phoenix Suns. Even though the loss of hard-nosed, defensive specialist PJ Tucker and sniper Bryn Forbes stings a bit, the defending champs had a fruitful layoff in which they re-signed the fan-favorite Bobby Portis for a new contract and obtained the service of Grayson Allen, Semi Ojeleye, Rodney Hood and the returning George Hill.
The hunt for the second golden laurels is nearing for the Cream City, yet the odds are not on their side for a repeat. As per SISportsbook, Nets are holding a plus-210, leading all 30 teams as title chasers. Coming in second is the Lakers with plus-330, and the Bucks slides on with plus-800 for the third most favored.
Nevertheless, franchise player Giannis Antetokounmpo’s fiery competitiveness and dominance will always set this Bucks team to the next level. Accompanied by scoring star Khris Middleton, tough veteran Jrue Holiday, a handful of trustworthy role players, and a bit of luck, we cannot question the ball club’s high capabilities to raise the trophy for the second time around.
Milwaukee will start its back-to-back campaign after their ring ceremony in an opening night home game against Brooklyn on October 19.