We are a couple of days away from the 2021 NBA Finals, and guys from Inside the NBA already made their predictions about who is going to win it all.
I met Giannis today, he's a very respectful gentleman, I'm going to go with the Milwaukee Bucks in 6 games.
Shaquille O'Neal, Inside the NBA
We are yet to receive an update on whether Giannis Antetokounmpo is going to play Game 1 or not. However, the Bucks are hopeful their superstar will be back on the court at some point during the series, treating his injury as a "day-to-day thing," according to Mike Budenholzer.
But even if Giannis comes back and is relatively healthy, Kenny "The Jet" Smith still doesn't think Milwaukee is good enough to go all the way.
"I'm going with the Phoenix Suns," he said during the show's season finale. "I just think that this is their year. They don't make mistakes and I don't know that you can beat the Phoenix Suns. Chris Paul doesn't turn the ball over, Devin Booker gets shots. I think this is their year."
Charles Barkley, however, went with the Eastern Conference champion, justifying his selection with a rather unusual explanation.
I hate to say this. I think the best thing that happened to the Bucks was Giannis getting hurt because they have unleashed the aggressive Jrue Holiday. I think he is going to be fantastic against Chris Paul. If Giannis is 85-90 percent, I’m going to go with Milwaukee.
Charles Barkley, Inside the NBA
Although "all of his heart and soul will be pulling for the Phoenix Suns," the Hall of Famer points to Milwaukee's run without their superstar player as the key factor going into the Finals series. Every single member of the Bucks' supporting cast showed the best versions of themselves in Giannis' absence, and Barkley thinks they will ride that momentum of that two-game stretch into this series.
But they still need their superstar back, and Chuck knows it. Even if he's not 100%, just having Giannis out there would make it a lot harder on the Suns. Everyone else will also have to play their part, matching the effort shown against the Hawks. But this is the NBA Finals -- a series that's always been about the superstar players. And this one will be no different.
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