The last NBA season was another spectacle that saw the Milwaukee Bucks triumph over the Phoenix Suns in the 2021 Finals series. To say the battle was dramatic is an understatement! It took until Game 6 of the series and a nail-biting 105-98 win for the Bucks to clinch the trophy. This saw the Bucks claim their first Championship in 50 years and only the second in franchise history.
Now that the dust has settled from this famous triumph, many will be looking ahead to the new season that started a few days ago. The burning question for all basketball fans is, have the Bucks done enough to retain their crown, or are they set to rely on their star Giannis Antetokounmpo too much?
Sports betting can give an idea
Many people who love to follow this sport also like to bet on it. After all, finding a tempting NBA bet of the day not only makes games more interesting but can also win you some money. Sports betting can also help us determine whether the Bucks are set to challenge for the throne again by looking at what odds they have to do so. Current odds show the team from Milwaukee sitting just behind the Lakers and Nets in the betting rankings, at around +800. This is understandable when you consider the roster the Nets and Lakers have in the coming campaign.
But does it show that the Bucks have failed to strengthen enough in the off-season?
Off-season moves could be cause for concern
Currently, being third in the NBA betting rankings is not so bad and could be seen as a sign that the team does have what it takes to retain its crown. The issue for most fans comes when you compare what other teams have done during free agency in comparison to the Bucks. For example, the Lakers brought on both Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook, while the Bucks missed out on top-level talent like Kyle Lowry and Chris Paul.
Milwaukee was, therefore, pretty quiet in the off-season, as they failed to add any big names to their locker room. That might lead to them being at a disadvantage heading into the new season due to not having done enough business in the off-season to compete fully. To add, it may also result in fans worrying that a lack of enough fresh blood could lead to the team stagnating.
Are the Bucks too reliant on Antetokounmpo?
This is the burning question for many NBA fans heading into the new campaign. Are the Bucks simply too reliant on iconic power forward/center Giannis Antetokounmpo? The simple truth is that when you have such a unique talent as ‘The Greek Freak,’ he will always be your leading man. There are just so many reasons Giannis Antetokounmpo is special as a player. In this respect, he is critical to the team’s success and their ability to retain the NBA crown in 2021/22. Without him on the court, you would struggle to see the Bucks having the firepower and genuine quality to make it again.
There is, however, something in their championship run that suggests they can cope well without him. After a Game 4 Eastern Conference Finals injury, the Bucks did have to play without him for a while. However, the team put in two stellar performances in Games 5 and 6 with Giannis out — proving they do not need him there to win. Maybe his presence on the team ensures he sees a lot of the ball, but the team does not always need him there to triumph.
Stability in the locker room could be key
We have already talked about the Bucks potentially not making enough moves for the top, new players in the off-season and how this could impact their 2022 title hopes. Although, some may argue that the stability this brings might work in their favor. Let’s not forget that core players like Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday, and Brook Lopez will still be there. This means the title-winning group from 2021 remains in place, as that will allow them to make use of their experience and familiarity to go all the way again.
2022 could be another good year for the Bucks
After the Bucks 2021 NBA Finals win, everyone will be keen to see how they defend their crown in the coming season. With Giannis Antetokounmpo still onboard and a solid core of returning talent who know each other’s games also in place, they may be able to do it. It will not be easy, though, as the way other teams have strengthened their roster in the off-season could be pivotal and bring us a new champion.