The 2022-23 NBA season is coming to a halt, and each game could have a serious impact on the standings. With a little over a week left in the regular season, the playoff picture is taking shape. As expected, organizations like the Milwaukee Bucks are at the top of their conferences and already frontrunners in the title race.
So far, the Bucks have a record of 55-21, the best in the league. Notably, Milwaukee had a 16-game winning streak, which included a perfect 10–0 run in February. It was the best streak by any team this season and Milwaukee’s third best mark in franchise history.
Last season, the Bucks lost to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, failing to win back-to-back NBA Finals. With hopes of bringing home another Larry O’Brien trophy, Milwaukee has a long way to go.
Still, based on what the team has shown over the past few months, fans may be wondering if another title is a real possibility. With that said, here are three reasons why the Milwaukee Bucks should win the 2023 NBA Finals.
*Watch NBA Games Live with FuboTV (Click for a free trial)*
3. Home-court advantage
One thing that can definitely help the Bucks in the post season is their fans. If the season ends like the current one, Milwaukee will have the best record in the East and the entire league. This means that the team will have home-court advantage against any potential opponent, including in the NBA Finals.
The Bucks are currently 3.0 games ahead of the Boston Celtics, and they play each other on Friday. A win could cement Milwaukee at the top of the standings.
While he has had a great season overall, the Bucks have been even more impressive when playing at Fischer Forum. When playing away, they have a 25–14 record. At home, Milwaukee is 30–7.
For comparison, in the 2020–21 season when they won the title, the Bucks finished 26–10 in regular season play at home. In the playoffs, they went 10–1 at the Fiserv Forum on their way to the championship.
Should they continue their dominance at home, they could be inching closer to their second title in three years. By opening all playoff series in Milwaukee, they could potentially get off to a 2-0 start that will be very difficult to come back from. Worst-case scenario, the Bucks would still play Game 7 at home.
2. The supporting cast’s season is going great
While most eyes are on Giannis Antetokounmpo, several other Milwaukee players are having big seasons.
Brook Lopez is averaging 15.7 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists. He is shooting 52.6% from the field, 37.2% from the 3-point line, and 78.1% from the charity stripe. Most importantly, he is blocking 2.5 shots a night while making a name for himself in the battle for the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award.
Junior Holiday has also had a solid year. He is averaging 19.4 points, 7.3 assists and 5.0 boards plus 1.2 steals per game. His shooting split is 48-38-86. Thanks to his performance, he earned the second All-Star nod of his career, 10 years after he was first selected, the longest gap between selections in NBA history.
After dealing with injuries at the start of this season, Khris Middleton looks to be back in his stride. He’s scoring 15.5 points, 5.0 assists and 4.4 rebounds on 44-32-90 shooting splits. He has come off the bench in 16 of the 30 matches he has played.
With Lopez and Holiday plus a healthy Middleton, the Bucks have three reliable offensive options if Antetokounmpo ever has a bad day. In addition, the trio, especially Lopez and Holiday, provide solid defense, which could come in handy in the playoffs against players like Jayson Tatum or Joel Embiid.
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo is having an MVP-level year
At the end of the day, Milwaukee’s success still hinges heavily on Giannis Antetokounmpo. Luckily for the Bucks, the Greek freak is having another great season, even getting some buzz for his third MVP.
This season, he is recording a career-high 31.2 points, 11.8 boards and 5.7 assists. He is making 55.3% of his field goals, 28.5% of his 3-pointers and 64.8% of his free-throw attempts. He is also averaging 0.8 blocks and 0.8 steals per contest.
In 16 games without Antetokounmpo this season, the Bucks are just 10-6. This includes losses to the rebuilding San Antonio Spurs and the struggling Miami Heat.
Even with Lopez and Holiday having some of the best seasons of their careers, it all comes down to Antetokounmpo. Without his distinctive play, it will be very difficult to see Milwaukee return to the NBA Finals.
But, if Antetokounmpo stays healthy for the post-season, the Bucks are legitimate contenders. With him, they are one of the scariest teams in the league both on offense and defense.
All things considered, Giannis Antetokounmpo is No. 1. 1 reason the Bucks can win the NBA Finals in 2023.