With less than a month to go before the 2023-24 NBA regular season begins, there's no better time for pundits to make their picks for what would happen in the coming campaign. Of course, these pundits run the risk of eating their words in a few months' time, but the fun lies in the speculation anyway. However, retired NBA big man Kendrick Perkins isn't particularly enthused about how the majority of voters in a recent ESPN survey believe that the Boston Celtics are favorites to win the Eastern Conference and make the NBA Finals over the likes of the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat.
Perkins, in particular, wanted his fellow analysts to get their act together and give the Bucks, the 2021 NBA champion, their due respect even after they suffered one of the most crushing first-round defeats in recent memory.
“The disrespect to the Milwaukee Bucks has to stop,” Perkins said on ESPN's NBA Today with Richard Jefferson, Malika Andrews, and Zach Lowe. “The Boston Celtics, I get it, but we haven't seen Kristaps Porzingis in the pressure moments. He's gonna put up 20-plus in a Washington Wizards uniform with no expectations, I need to see what happens when he steps foot in that garden and those hostile fans start to get on his behind.”
"The disrespect to the Milwaukee Bucks has to stop. The Boston Celtics, I get it, but we haven't seen Kristaps Porzingis in the pressure moments."
Kendrick Perkins on ESPN's poll result for the East champs 🗣pic.twitter.com/nspuDUlnbQ
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) September 27, 2023
Is Kendrick Perkins correct about the Bucks?
The Bucks will not exactly enter the 2023-24 NBA season to much fanfare even though they remain one of the best teams in the league. Even though Giannis Antetokounmpo is still at the top of his game, the Bucks' first-round exit against the Heat in a 1-8 matchup simply left a bad taste in most pundits' mouths.
But it's not like the Bucks are receiving much disrespect around NBA circles, like Kendrick Perkins is insinuating. After all, six of the 15 voters in the aforementioned ESPN survey still believe that it's the Bucks that will stand tall among their Eastern Conference peers come June 2024.
There are reasons to be concerned about the Bucks anyway, with the team's supporting cast around Giannis Antetokounmpo growing older, as well as the uncertainty surrounding the system new head coach Adrian Griffin will install. However, expect the Bucks to remain in the shortlist of the very top-tier of contenders in a league filled with parity.