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Milwaukee Bucks: 4 bold predictions for the 2021-22 NBA season

Bucks, Giannis Atetokounmpo

The Milwaukee Bucks are entering the 2021-22 NBA season with utmost confidence after they got the job done and won the NBA title last July. Even though most analysts, TV heads, and betting odds are pegging the Brooklyn Nets or the Los Angeles Lakers as the top two favorites, Milwaukee is undoubtedly still among the top-tier contenders across the league.

Repeating as NBA champions should be the no. 1 goal for the Bucks. That, however, will be a challenging feat, as Milwaukee certainly has that proverbial target on its back and every team in the league is looking to take the Bucks down. That comes with the territory of being the defending champs.

4 bold predictions for the 2021-22 NBA season

The Bucks should not lack motivation to “get the job done” once again. The fact that they aren’t getting much love from the mainstream media as title favorites should further fuel their fire to prove their naysayers wrong. Look for Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday, and the rest of this Bucks squad to play with much more confidence and freedom this season. This championship swagger should give them that much-needed edge when they face their top competition. With that, here are four bold predictions for the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2021-22 NBA season.

4. Giannis Antetokounmpo will shoot at least 35 percent from three

The reigning Finals MVP is entering the campaign with utmost confidence and he is showing it in the preseason. Giannis Antetokounmpo has been letting it fly from the perimeter with a newfound confident stroke that should strike fear across the league. He’s been knocking down his threes and has showcased a turnaround jumper in the post that could well be his signature weapon of choice moving forward.

It’s only a 3-game sample size, but Antetokounmpo has been lights out with his jump shot. He has shot a combined 4-of-6 from long range in the preseason and is close to shooting 70 percent from the field. I know it’s just three games and these games don’t really count. But this suggests that, despite the success of last season, Antetokounmpo has worked on improving his jumper this summer.

That’s why this season, the 5-time All-Star should see the fruits of his hard work by draining at least 35 percent from three this 2021-22 season. That 3-point shooting clip isn’t lights out by any means. But at least he’ll make defenses pay attention to him from that far out, which will further open up the lanes for him.

For a career 28.7 percent 3-point shooter, that would actually be a massive jump. Giannis’ best 3-point shooting campaign was when he shot 34.7 percent, and that came in his rookie campaign, where he didn’t jack up a lot of threes. With the volume he has shot over the past two seasons (over four a game), he’s only made over 30 percent of them.

It’s long been said that if The Greek Freak develops at least a respectable jump shot, it’s game over.

3. The Bucks will have three All-Stars

Only Giannis Antetokounmpo made the All-Star team for the eventual champs last season. But this year, the Bucks will boast three All-Stars when Cleveland hosts the 2022 NBA All-Star Game. Of course, The Greek Freak will be a lock, while the other two should be Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday.

Voters could shower the Bucks Big Three with love especially after their performance in the NBA Finals this past July. Milwaukee’s trio of stars played magnificently during their championship run and each one of them had their respective Finals-defining moment. Middleton hit numerous big shots in the playoffs, including the dagger in Game 6. Holiday played tremendous defense throughout the postseason and this was punctuated with his memorable clutch steal in their series-swinging Game 5 win.

And of course, Giannis already cemented his status as one of the all-time greats and had multiple NBA Finals moments — such as the clutch recovery and block on Deandre Ayton in Game 4, the game-clinching alley-oop in Game 5, and the 50-point masterpiece in Game 6 — that will stand the test of time.

With the memories of last year’s Finals still fresh in voters’ minds, it’s definitely possible for the Bucks to banner three All-Stars this season.

2. Giannis Antetokounmpo will win NBA MVP 

Giannis Antetokounmpo will bag his third Maurice Podoloff trophy this 2021-22 season. The 2-time MVP experienced voter fatigue last season, especially after two consecutive disappointing postseasons in 2019 and 2020, both of which succeeding his MVP campaigns. He finished 4th in MVP voting but received just one first-place vote despite putting up MVP caliber numbers.

But coming on the heels of leading the Bucks to a championship, winning Finals MVP, and having one of the greatest closeout performances in Game 6 against the Phoenix Suns, voters may come back in Antetokounmpo’s graces, especially if he brings his game up a notch and leads the Bucks to a top seed in the Eastern Conference.

1. Bucks will take down the Nets again

There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding Kyrie Irving’s status for the Brooklyn Nets this season. Irving’s absence likely won’t affect Brooklyn’s title chances. That’s how loaded the Nets are even without the 7-time All-Star. However, the Bucks will spoil their bid to win the NBA championship and take them out once again in the postseason, despite Brooklyn being the more favored squad in the preseason predictions and odds. Yes, they will do so even with a healthy James Harden.

The Bucks barely clawed their way out of the second round even with a barely functioning James Harden. Nets fans have been preaching that if one of Irving and Harden were at full strength, the Bucks wouldn’t be sitting here as defending champs.

However, the Nets are facing plenty of uncertainty from Irving’s situation and this could prove to be a major distraction for them the entire campaign. If Brooklyn is going to deal with this the whole year, especially if their star point guard doesn’t budge with his vaccination stance, this may end up screwing their mental as a team.

Milwaukee coming in as confident defending champs could be a disaster for Brooklyn, especially if Irving is not around.