These 6 NBA teams have already established an identity (and locks for the playoffs)

 

The NBA season is a little over twenty games in and ticking along nicely. Though it’s relatively still, we can really see which teams are coming together and those that have established an identity on both sides of the court; enough so to make some safe predictions for teams that are all but locks for the postseason.

Golden State Warriors The Golden State Warriors could sometimes slip through the cracks but, right now, they look like the real deal to make it to the post season. We are witnessing another historic season out of Steph Curry. Curry is playing at a level even beyond the MVP award right now and those around him is one of the best group that he has ever played with and in a system that maximizes talent. This is all without Klay Thompson active too. The Warriors are not only looking playoff bound, but an early favorite for the championship.

Phoenix Suns Over in the Western Conference again we expect the Phoenix Suns will be making it back in. After losing 3 of their first four games, the Suns are riding a 14-game win streak and, despite getting little media coverage, the duo of Chris Paul and Devin Booker are still one of the most formidable backcourts in the league. We can’t forget their supporting cast either, which makes them not only a playoff contender but a Championship dark horse as well.

Miami Heat Going back into the Eastern Conference now, we think that the Miami Heat are good value to make the cut. They have been a strong team the last two years now with Jimmy Butler, Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo bolstering their roster. Throw in the likes of Kyle Lowry and PJ Tucker, who joined in the offseason, and you’ve got a stellar team. They seem to have a fantastic chemistry too so it’s hard to see them missing out.

Brooklyn Nets Without a doubt, the Brooklyn Nets will be stamping their ticket into the postseason in a few months. Even though they are playing without Kyrie Irving their roster is incredibly deep behind the superstar duo of Kevin Durant and James Harden. Those wo alone are more than enough to warrant a playoff spot. Add on some excellent role players like Lamarcus Aldridge and Patty Mills then you have yourself a championship contender. If Irving comes back then this is a locked in NBA Finals squad – assuming they all stay healthy.

Los Angeles Lakers The Los Angeles Lakers are another team that is odds on to make the postseason even with a middling 10-10 record. Yes, they have struggled the majority of the season, but LeBron James won’t be missing the post season, not with this talented of a roster. They may not be a top three seed like everybody was expecting but James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook are strong enough to get them in at some point.

Milwaukee Bucks You would think the defending NBA champions would be much higher on this list, but they’ve been hit by injuries early on. Despite the next level play of two-time league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks have struggled on and off. Even with a rocky road, the Bucks have slowly righted the ship thanks to the return of Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday.

The best of the rest

Outside of those teams it gets messy but for you can still hazard a guess who enters the mix and who doesn’t. In the East, you have the Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, the Atlanta Hawks, and Boston Celtics. Then flipping over to the West, there is the Denver Nuggets, the Utah Jazz, the Dallas Mavericks, the Los Angeles Clippers and the Portland Trail Blazers. Even the Memphis Grizzlies deserve an honorable mention behind the amazing play of Ja Morant.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, our view on how the NBA playoff picture will shape up. It seems we are up for a very interesting playoff showdown when the regular season finishes.

Meanwhile, don’t forget to check the latest NBA trade rumors as well, to keep yourself in track of possible changes in the team’s rosters: https://edge.twinspires.com/nba/trade-rumors/

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Deer District: Why the Milwaukee Bucks have such a strong fan base 

The Milwaukee Bucks have had a renaissance over the past couple of seasons. A team that was once deemed mediocre or forgotten about completely, is now the defending NBA champions. 

For a team whose biggest claim to fame was being the home of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar nearly 60 years ago, the franchise has transformed. Now they’re the team you pick for loads of live betting action, and their fans have become known as some of, if not the best in the league. That’s what happens when a long suffering fanbase sees success.

And there’s a lot of reasons why the Milwaukee Bucks have such a dedicated, rabid and passionate fanbase. We’ll go over a few of those reasons below.

Loyalty

Loyalty in sports is easy for some and impossible for others. You want to support your home team or the team you live near, and it can be nearly impossible if they’re just, well, garbage. Bucks fans knew this about their team at some points. 

As mentioned, the Bucks have always been middling, so much so that they were barely spoken about, let alone ever part of any serious playoff or championship conversation.

They were also missing something most other teams had. The Bucks never had superstars like other teams, and there was no legendary star that the fans could rally behind and that the team could work with.  Yes there were all-stars like Sidney Moncrief, Ricky Pierce, Jack Sikma, Michael Redd, Glenn Robinson, Vin Baker, Ray Allen, Marques Johnson, and Terry Cummings.

Not since Kareem and Oscar Robertson teamed up had the Bucks had a player of that caliber and potential. Giannis Antetokounmpo was able to change that, and the fans reacted, being louder and more passionate than ever before. Their loyalty was tested repeatedly, and now they have the payoff they were waiting for. 

Attendance 

Fans show their loyalty by pitching up to games. There are fewer metrics more reliable than attendance to show how much your fans love what you are doing and how much they support you. The Bucks regularly fill seats, their fans pack out home games, and even often make trips to away games. There aren’t many franchises that can say the same. During the Bucks’ playoff runs, the attendance wasn’t just on the inside, but fans showed up in thousands to pack the Deer District, an outdoor space outside of the arena that they could gather and watch the playoff games on a huge, outdoor LCD screen.

Spending 

Fans talk with their wallets; if they aren’t happy with what you are doing, they won’t buy tickets, they won’t buy jerseys, and they won’t even buy a hotdog outside the stadium. Once again, the Bucks fans are pulling through here too. 

As said before, being champions helps, but this is a fan base that has been disappointed before. Instead of turning their backs on the franchise and players they love, they still put on the jerseys and get to games wherever they can. 

Patience 

Patience was the key for Bucks fans for a very long time. They all knew that their luck was going to change at some point, and the stars would align for them. It had happened before. After all, 1971 was a championship-winning season, and they knew they could do it again. 

The fans got what they had waited so long for, and it only reinforced the idea that staying patient and trusting in the team they supported would lead to another championship. Winning title after title is excellent, but fans become complacent. 

The Greek Freak 

Giannis has become the leader and figurehead that the Bucks fans have been begging for, for years now. He is strong, can score, is regarded as one of the best players in the league, and has shown the fans that he is there to win championships for them. 

It might be surprising that, for a player so good, he plays for a team like the Bucks and not someone like the Lakers or even the Bulls, but he calls Milwaukee home, and the fans show him love every time he steps onto the court – love he may not be able to find at another franchise. 

They know failure 

Nothing will bring a fanbase closer than a win after years of disappointment. Bucks fans know what failure is. Therefore they cherish success even more, and they don’t take it for granted. 

They still scream and applaud every game like it is the final game for the championship. That type of passion can only be found in fans who haven’t chased glory but have now had a taste and want even more. 

You could argue that some Bucks fans would say one Championship is enough, that their team has done what so many before have failed to do. The deep appreciation they have for success is almost unmatched anywhere in the league. 

They look forward 

Bucks fans are also incredibly good at looking forward. The season hasn’t had the best start this time around, and they know you don’t win or lose a championship spot in the first few games. 

They are well aware that success takes time, and it is how you play the next game that matters, not the result of the previous one. This is the mindset that helped them win a trophy, always thinking ahead and winning the next game, not resting on their laurels. 

Passion 

The Bucks fans are known to be some of the loudest and most passionate fans out there. They don’t go to games to sit quietly and wait for the buzzer to sound, and they make their presence known no matter what. 

Much like how the Bills Mafia are loud and brash, the herd is what keeps the team going when the chips are down, and they don’t miss a chance to show their respect and love for the players on the court. 

Championship Title Comes to Milwaukee

Finally, an NBA championship win is the biggest thing to happen to the Bucks, their fans, and the city of Milwaukee as a whole for the last 50 years. It has united the state and the fans like nothing ever has before, and now everyone wants to see them do it again. 

While failure made them stand firm and not give up on their team, success has proven what they all thought before; that they could do it; they could win a championship. 

Some may argue that the Bucks don’t have the best fans, and they may be right, but going to a home game, listening to the cheers, and seeing the emotion on each fan’s face, will make you think it isn’t possible for there to be a better fan base anywhere else. 

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History tells us the Milwaukee Bucks should win the NBA championship, but they won’t

Of all the remaining teams in the conference finals, the Milwaukee Bucks were the team that had earned an NBA championship.

In five consecutive playoff appearances, the Bucks lost in the first round twice, they’ve been eliminated in the semi-finals, they’ve lost a heartbreaking series to the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Finals, and now they’re finally in the NBA Finals. If you’re a fan of NBA history then you know that 97% of the time, NBA champions have to through at least a couple seasons of heartache before breaking through.

Based on that established pattern of losing-before-finally-winning, if you were to do some Naija football betting or putting money on the NBA, the Milwaukee Bucks would be a heavy favorite to bring home the title.

Bucks lack identity

Getting into the NBA Finals, a team not only has to go through the trial and tribulations, but they spend those years establishing identity; one with predictable and unstoppable offensive sets. That lack of reliable offense is what will hold the Bucks back from taking home the championship this year.

When it comes down to it, the Milwaukee Bucks are way too inconsistent on offense and the Phoenix Suns too reliable on offense for the Bucks to pull out a win the NBA Finals.

We’re all well aware that two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is their superstar, but he’s yet to figure out a way to dominate the Suns when his heads-down drives are walled off. It doesn’t help that his free-throw shooting has been atrocious.

There’s been a lot of talk that Khris Middleton is their closer, but he’s had as many stinker games as he’s had dominant ones. No one dislikes Jrue Holiday, but he simply doesn’t have a scorer’s mindset. Brook Lopez has looked great in a few games, but his presence is too much of a defensive liability to make him worth playing. How many times have we seen Milwaukee’s offense completely abandon them during these playoffs?

On the other side, you know who the Phoenix Suns are on offense. To a man,  each player knows their role. Devin Booker is their primary scoring option and is capable of going off for 35 points on any night, Deandre Ayton picks and rolls and rebounds, Jae Crowder and Mikal Bridges hang out at the three point line when the first few options don’t work out.

And that brings us to the other reason why the Bucks are going to have a tough time winning four games in the NBA Finals: Chris Paul. Let’s forget the motivation that comes from CP3’s first NBA Finals in his 16 year career, it’s more about his leadership and ability to create shots on any given play. Whether it’s pick and roll, the threat of lobbing to Ayton, getting Lopez or Bobby Portis on the island, his deadly handles and his deadlier midrange game. His play over the last few seasons has solidified the 6-2 guard as one of the top five point guards of all-time.

Yes, Giannis and Middleton and Holiday will put together some good games, and they might pull out two wins during the series because of that, but their inconsistency has been their identity throughout their 2021 NBA Playoff run. Unfortunately for their fans, the Deer District, and the city of Milwaukee, that inconsistency and lack of offensive identity will result in another season of disappointment.

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Jeremy Lin shoots just 2-12, but aggression keeps Lakers flowing

Jeremy Lin didn’t have the best shooting night, in fact he only hit two shots in twelve attempts, but he was instrumental in getting the Lakers on the cusp of a road win vs. the Milwaukee Bucks. Continue reading “Jeremy Lin shoots just 2-12, but aggression keeps Lakers flowing”

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