Bucks Not Among Favorites To Repeat In 2022

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Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 50 points to power the Milwaukee Bucks over Phoenix on Tuesday to claim their first NBA title since 1971 and win NBA Finals Most Valuable Player honors
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 50 points to power the Milwaukee Bucks over Phoenix on Tuesday to claim their first NBA title since 1971 and win NBA Finals Most Valuable Player honors

Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks finally got over the hump, defeating the Phoenix Suns to win the 2021 NBA Finals. Antetokounmpo proved to be as great as any superstar in the league, but that doesn’t mean he’s expected to win another ring soon.

Milwaukee is not favored to repeat next season. In fact, the Bucks aren’t even close to having the best odds to win the 2022 NBA Finals.

That honor belongs to the Brooklyn Nets, whom Milwaukee eliminated in the second round of the playoffs. Across the board, Brooklyn leads the way with around +200 championship odds.

The Los Angeles Lakers are given a better chance than the Bucks to win the next title. Los Angeles has anywhere from +450 to +600 odds, depending on the sportsbook. LeBron James won his fourth NBA Finals MVP just nine months ago, leading the Lakers to a title.

The Bucks rank third with +800 odds to win the 2022 NBA Finals at and BetMGM. Milwaukee has +850 odds at FanDuel Sportsbook, and DraftKings Sportsbook gives the champs +900 odds.

The Golden State Warriors are given either +1200 or +1300 odds. The Suns have between +1200 and +1400 odds. 

Milwaukee needed seven games and an overtime in the deciding contest to eliminate an injury-riddled Brooklyn team during its title run. Kyrie Irving and James Harden missed a combined seven games, leaving Kevin Durant to carry the Nets. Durant outplayed Antetokounmpo in the conference semifinals, averaging 35.4 points, 10.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game.

In the final seconds of regulation in Game 7, Durant was a few inches away from sending the Bucks home.

Over the next two series, it was Antetokounmpo who looked like the best player in the world. The two-time regular-season MVP had a historic Finals with 35.2 points, 13.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game. Antetokounmpo capped off the series with 50 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks in the clincher.

 

 

Most playoff teams had to deal with crippling injuries. The Lakers lost Anthony Davis for the final 2.5 games of their first-round series. Kawhi Leonard missed all of the Western Conference Finals for the Los Angeles Clippers. A knee injury kept Antetokounmpo off the floor in the last two games of the Eastern Conference Finals, but he seemed unaffected against Phoenix.

Despite their previous playoff failures, Milwaukee has been the NBA’s most dominant regular-season team of the last three years. The Bucks had the league’s best record in both 2019 and 2020. In this past regular season, Milwaukee was the East’s only team that ranked in the top-10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency.

Three teams have successfully repeated as NBA champions since 2010.




Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / JONATHAN DANIEL

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