Ryan and Jarael predict who will win the 2021 NBA Championship.
Western Conference Champion: The Phoenix Suns (2)
Eastern Conference Champion: The Milwaukee Bucks (3)
Ryan: Even with unfortunate injuries and the lack of ‘mainstream’ superstars, these NBA Playoffs have been the most entertaining in years. From the emergence of the next gen of superstars in Devin Booker and Trae Young, to the three Game 7s and the long journey of Chris Paul finally succeeding in the Playoffs. Now, we have finally made it to the grand finale, the Milwaukee Bucks vs. the Phoenix Suns.
The Suns have dominated the Playoffs, even though all of their series wins have been against injury-plagued teams (Lakers without AD, Nuggets without Jamal Murray, Clippers without Kawhi). However, they did still dominate healthy NBA teams during the regular season as they finished with the second best record. Don’t get me wrong, the Suns have proven me wrong many times these Playoffs, but I have become a believer. With Chris Paul’s veteran leadership, the Suns players have all been playing their part. From Booker playing like a superstar to Ayton dominating the paint, and Chris Paul having all that swagger that gives me confidence watching in my living room. But now the pressure is on as they are trying to win their first ever NBA championship against the Bucks.
The Bucks are also a team that continues to prove me wrong. I thought it was over when they took on the Brooklyn Nets, and then thought they were in trouble when Giannis went down against the Hawks. But other players (Middleton and Holiday) have stepped up. Even without Giannis, the Bucks match up well against the Suns. The Bucks are annoying on defense and will cause frustration against a young Suns team. But let’s be honest, the Giannis injury is a major concern. He will play in the Finals, but how effective will he truly be? I am predicting a ground out, low scoring series that eventually gives us a Suns championship. Suns (4-2).
Jarael: In the past, I would complain or often hear complaints about the NBA being too predictable. Well look what we have here. The Phoenix Suns and the Milwaukee Bucks will compete for an NBA championship. The same people who wanted the NBA to be less predictable are now upset their favorite superstars came up short this year. What is amazing about what we will witness this finals is someone will cement their legacy for the Hall of Fame. Injuries are a part of the game and both the Suns and the Bucks benefited from major injuries to superstars along their journey to the finals. However, it does not take away from the fact these teams played at a championship level and deserve to be in the NBA Finals.
I would be more excited for this match up if Giannis was not coming off of a terrible injury. I think the match ups are interesting. Excited to see Holiday take on Booker or Chris Paul. I also like PJ Tucker playing off-ball on Jae Crowder. In a perfect world with no injuries, I think this matchup is entertaining. I am most excited to see how the Bucks respond to the play of Ayton as he has been able to dominate the pick and roll game and defensive rebounds. With that said, Jrue and Khris will have to play spectacular in order to overcome the confident Suns. Lopez will have to be more of a presence in the post and beyond the arc to space the floor. I don’t view Ayton as a huge rim defender, so I still like the Bucks chances to dominate the paint. This year – like many years past – the game will be decided on the 3-point line. The Bucks have been shooting well below their average all playoffs and I don’t expect them to turn it around this series. Unfortunately, as a Bucks fan, I think the Suns prevail. Their three point shooting and defensive efficiency overwhelm the Bucks over the course of 7 games. This should be decided in 6 games. I have the Sun (4-2). BUT, I still plan on attending game three, win or lose, so excited to see the Bucks in the finals.