Tomorrow night the 2021 NBA Finals begin with the Milwaukee Bucks taking the court against the Phoenix Suns in Phoenix, AZ for game one. The matchup starts at 9 p.m. EST and both teams are searching for the trophy. If the Suns can take the series, they will be awarded their first championship; the Bucks have one under their belt, but it was way back in 1971. There is a lot riding on this for both franchises.
2021 NBA Finals | Key Players
Both of these teams have incredible rosters which have led them to the 2021 NBA Finals. The Suns hold two stars in veteran Chris Paul and breakout Devin Booker. Paul has been in the league since the 2005-06 season and this is his first time taking his team all the way to an NBA final. Paul has put up great stats and has added an average of 18.1 points per game in this year’s playoffs. His 3-point field goal percentage has been elite, with a .405 percentage.
Booker who has been in the league since only 2015 has stepped up in his first playoff appearance. He is averaging 27 points per game and has a .444 field goal percentage. During the regular season, Booker showed his potential and has carried that momentum into the postseason.
Deandre Ayton has been essential to this Suns playoff run as well. Ayton is stellar at rebounding the ball and is the backbone of the Suns when it comes to capitalizing on their chances. During the playoffs, Ayton has had 11.8 rebounds per game. His field goal percentage has been incredible with .706 in the postseason.
For the Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo is the most essential player by far. The Greek Freak has put up an average of 28.2 points per game in the playoffs and is the best at driving the ball to the basket. Antetokounmpo’s only weakness seems to be deeper shots, especially 3-pointers. If the Suns focus on keeping him active in the paint, they will be in a great position.
Antetokounmpo is an important player for the Bucks defensive side as well. He has averaged 12.7 rebounds per game in the playoffs and can block a shot when needed.
With shooters like Khris Middleton, in-the-paint players like Brook Lopez and a defense with Jrue Holiday on their side, the Bucks are stacked just like the Suns.
The Suns are led by the 2021 NBCA coach of the year Monty Williams. Williams has chemistry with his players that are unmatched. He was the coach for Paul in 2010-11 with New Orleans, which was Paul’s last year with the Hornets. Williams and Paul’s relationship has led them to be more than just a player and a coach, but lifelong friends. When players are playing for someone they respect and admire, they are going to put in extra effort to bring home the win.
Mike Budenholzer leads the Bucks and has many accolades in his lengthy coaching career. He is a two time NBA Coach of the Year and NBCA Coach of the Year. Gregg Popovich’s apprentis is familiar with the big stage, having been an assistant coach for four of the San Antonio Spurs championships. This experienced leader knows how to take a team to the next level and he has done that with his Bucks.
Predicting the matchups
Game one will likely go to the Suns. If Antetokounmpo is unable to play as a result of his knee injury, it will definitely be a Suns victory. He will probably be back by game two, but he may not be back playing at his best. However, even an injured Antetokounmpo plays better than most of the players in the league on their best healthy day. Still, I see the Sun’s taking game two as he is still in the process of recovery.
Game three will be a change of pace as the game moves to Milwaukee. With the home court advantage and the crazy Bucks fanbase, I see the Bucks taking the win to make the series 2-1. The Suns will be unhappy with the turnout and take back their momentum with a win in game four. Phoenix will close out the series with a win in game five to become the 2021 NBA Champions.
The Bucks are too good for it to be a sweep, but the Suns have come to play this season and will walk away NBA champions in five.