Former NBA Champion Believes Bucks Will Upset Nets to Meet Lakers in 2022 NBA Finals

Published 10/12/2021, 8:30 AM EDT
Mar 31, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; A general overall view of the opening tip-off between Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez (11) and Los Angeles Lakers center Andre Drummond (2) during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


We’re all set to dive into the 2021-22 NBA season and the hype is getting massive this year. The trade summer was quite a busy one. It has resulted in star-stacked teams, including the veteran pack of Los Angeles Lakers, the talented Chicago Bulls starters, and others. The likes of Brooklyn’s Big 3 and defending champions, Giannis-led Bucks, are also seen as major threats for the championship.

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Last season, the Milwaukee Bucks reigned as the 2021 NBA champions after defeating Phoenix Suns in the Finals. Many banner teams like Lakers, Nets, and Warriors saw injuries hit their most essential players. While the competition was high in both conferences, benched All-stars led to surprising eliminations from postseason and Play-ins.

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The 2021-22 season is a tough league to be in

It’s a fresh beginning for the league with the new season setting in. The competition will reach its peak as forces like LeBron James, Klay Thompson, and Kyrie Irving are expected to come back stronger.

Like any other year, the West is packed. A star-studded Lakers, Thompson-inclusive Warriors, a contending Jazz team, and a talented former finalist – Suns. However, this year, the East is also showing signs of a tough and bustling season ahead. The Sixers are a potential playoff threat and the Nets have a fierce roster, at least on paper.

Jun 25, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) puts up a shot against Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez (11) in the third quarter during game two of the Eastern Conference Finals for the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

Additionally, Knicks and Hawks came out as underdogs last postseason and they’ll be looking to proceed deeper this year. The Chicago Bulls have also acquired a beautiful combination of starters to hold a place in the league. All-stars Lonzo Ball, Zach Lavine, and DeMar DeRozan seem to be a lethal combination.

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Los Angeles Lakers vs Milwaukee Bucks: A potential 2022 NBA final

Amongst the chaos, former NBA player John Salley has made his predictions for the 2022 NBA Finals. He has set the stage before the party has begun. The 4-time NBA champion has backed Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks for a potential finale matchup. He said in an interview – “The Los Angeles Lakers are going to win in 5 games.” 

LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and recently acquired Russell Westbrook will be leading the Lakers’ roster. Having said that, Frank Vogel has a deep set of players to be coached. Their depth is heavily aided by Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, and Rajon Rondo playing off the bench.

Why did Sally rule out Philadelphia and Brooklyn from his predictions?

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While Sally also considered the Philadelphia 76ers in place of the Bucks, he sidelined the option because of the ongoing Ben Simmons saga. And talking about the star team Brooklyn Nets, Sally believes they aren’t going that far. With all due respect for Kevin Durant, he mentioned –“He (KD) doesn’t have the support. He doesn’t have what he had in Golden State.”

The Freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo, poured out all the stops for winning the 2021 ring. And this year, it’s a bigger test for him as key players are getting in form. Sally further commented on the young superstar by saying, “We’re going to see how good Giannis really is in this next Finals. He’s gonna have to be as good as he was. He made everybody a believer, but he’s gonna have to do it again.”

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Jul 11, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) drives for the basket against Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) during the second quarter in game three of the 2021 NBA Finals at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Lakers vs Bucks is the matchup that John Salley expects out of the next year. But, the competition is high and teams are pulling their socks up for this enticing season. Who will be the 2022 NBA finalists? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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Pavni Ahuja

529 articles

Pavni Ahuja is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Housing a keen interest in sports journalism, she is pursuing an undergraduate Journalism degree from Christ University. Pavni is an ardent fan of the NBA, with prior district-level playing experience in basketball.

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