‘Going to Finish First’: Former NBA Champion Believes Bucks Can Outdo the Nets in Eastern Conference

Published 10/04/2021, 9:30 AM EDT
Jul 20, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) celebrates with the NBA Finals MVP Trophy following the game against the Phoenix Suns following game six of the 2021 NBA Finals at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY


Once a team wins a championship, they only have a few weeks to celebrate before getting back to work. The reigning NBA champions, the Milwaukee Bucks, surely proved their superiority as a team as Giannis Antetokounmpo and Co. were able to make it past the most elite teams to lift the Larry O’Brien trophy. However, one point a lot of fans of the league have brought up repeatedly is that the Bucks were only able to win the championship, as many key players in the league were forced to sit out due to injuries in the previous season.

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The upcoming 2021-22 season will be even more competitive than the last, considering the star-studded rosters that have been formed. But it seems like Richard Jefferson believes his former team will once again make its way back to the top, and here’s why.

The Milwaukee Bucks will take everyone by surprise, again!

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As the Sitcom ‘Friends’ episodes are titled, last season can be defined as ‘The one with the injuries’. Almost every team had some or the other player battling with health issues. In fact, it had such dire consequences for them that they were unable to make it to the postseason. The Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets, Denver Nuggets, and others are prime examples of the same.

But this also meant that the ring the Milwaukee Bucks worked so hard for wasn’t held high in their regard. Since a short offseason was the major reason for this setback, the next season will have players stepping on the court in better shape. This will also give the Bucks a chance to prove that they can earn another championship competing against the best. According to Richard Jefferson, the Bucks will come into this season looking to prove a point.

On ‘Road Trippin’, he said, “The sleeper team I think is going to be Milwaukee. That’s my sleeper. That catches you off guard.” He agreed that they did have some advantage last time, which led them to a title, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less.

He further explained, “I think that they are going to exceed what people think with everyone healthy. I think everyone’s going to be healthy, and they’re still going to play better than what people think. I think they’re going to exceed expectations. And I think they’re gonna finish first.”

WATCH THIS STORY: Kobe Bryant, LeBron James & Other NBA Stars Who Knew Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Potential Way Before he Won the NBA Championship

Do they really have a shot?

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Jul 20, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) and Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton (22) celebrate after winning game six of the 2021 NBA Finals and the championship against the Phoenix Suns at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Despite all that’s said and done, as long as the Bucks have Giannis Antetokounmpo, they will always be included in title contender discussions. The current core that includes him, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday still have a couple of years ahead of them to earn another ring.

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And if Giannis decides to stick around, he could urge the front office to add fresh young talent as his supporting cast. But if he does decide to take his talents elsewhere, it could be way long before the Bucks get their hands on another championship.

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Nevertheless, this debate is for another time. What matters is that after all their hard work last season, they are yet to prove they deserve to be recognized as the reigning champions. As sad as it is, it’s the truth.

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Yashima Bhatia

1569 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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