Chris Paul’s Phoenix Suns are set to take on Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2021 NBA Finals. It has been a strange year in the NBA with injuries and health and safety protocols dominating the headlines, but we are finally down to the last two teams and this season the NBA will crown a champion we haven’t seen in 50 years.
The Phoenix Suns last made the NBA Finals in 1993 with Charles Barkley – where they eventually lost to Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls – while the Milwaukee Bucks are making their first appearance in the Finals since 1974 and are gunning for their first NBA title since Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s team in 1971.
The Bucks swept the Miami Heat in round one before narrowly edging out the Brooklyn Nets and the Atlanta Hawks in the conference semi-finals and finals.
The Suns, on the other hand, are looking to win their first-ever NBA title and enter the finals on the back of three impressive series against the Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets and the Clippers.
In an NBA post-season that has been defined by injuries to star players – James Harden, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Luka Doncic, Joel Embiid, Jamal Murray – it is fitting that the biggest question heading into the finals is the health and fitness of two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek Freak missed games five and six of the eastern conference finals and is still a major doubt for the Finals due to a hyperextended left knee.
While the Finals might be lacking some star power due to Antetokounmpo’s injury, it will still be a momentous occasion for arguably the finest point guard of this generation, Chris Paul. CP3 has been on the cusp of the NBA finals numerous times in his 16 years in the league but somehow always failed to cross that final hurdle. At age 36, Paul has finally passed that barrier with the Suns and is on the brink of immortalizing his legacy in the league by getting his hands on the Larry O’Brien trophy for the first time.
While the Bucks do match up well with the Suns due to their size and defensive prowess, the fate of this series hinges on the fitness of Giannis. If the two-time MVP can be patched up in time for the finals, the Bucks might have too much for this Suns team on both ends of the floor. However, if this NBA post-season has another injury casualty, it’s difficult to see the Bucks having enough offensive firepower to blow away the likes of Devin Booker, Chris Paul and DeAndre Ayton.
Champions: Suns in six
Finals MVP: Devin Booker
[Image Credit: NBA]