Bucks are big favorites over the Hawks

After squeaking by the depleted New jersey Nets, the Bucks seem to have a much clearer path to an NBA title. Many believe that Giannis Antetokounmpo is the best all-around player left in the NBA playoffs, and that the Bucks should roll through the Hawks. The odds are heavily in the Bucks’ favor.

Of course, some TV personalities will go with the Hawks just for entertainment purposes, and of course they can pull an upset. Anything is possible. But the smart money seems to be with the heavily favored Bucks.

Here’s a tweet from a respected sports better:

That’s the question . . . can anyone on the Hawks guard Giannis? This is his chance to take control of the playoffs and grab a title in a year when the other NBA icons have been eliminated.

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RGIII promotes his wife’s fitness company

If you read this tweet from Robert Griffin III, you’ll see why he was catching so much grief on Twitter today. He tried to salvage things by promoting his wife’s fitness company in the next tweet, but the that didn’t stop the ridicule.

That said, she looks good, and I’m sure she’s a good fitness instructor.

Pistons win NBA Draft lottery

The Detroit Pistons will have the top pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, with the Rockets, Cavs, Raptors and Magic rounding out the top five. Most scots believe this draft is loaded, particularly with the top five prospects.

Cade Cunningham – He’s the consensus top pick, though the Pistons will certainly do their homework on all the top prospects. Cunningham is a 6’8″ point guard who many believe can do it all. He can create his own shot or make plays passing, and is the type of wing player most GMs crave in the modern NBA.

Evan Mobley – Mobley is a modern-day big man who can handle the ball like a guard and shoot from the perimeter while also protecting the rim. As a seven-footer he’s certainly an intriguing prospect.

Jalen Green – He’s a 6’5″ wing player who is probably the most dynamic scorer in the draft. He would be an ideal for for a team like the Cavs but frankly fit the prototype of the NBA wing player who can dominate the game with his athleticism.

Jalen Suggs – A 6’4″ guard who can play the point or off the ball, Suggs is an elite athlete who has a complete game. He’s probably the best known prospect given his time at Gonzaga.

Jonathan Kuminga – Like Green, Kuminga is another G League player who will likely go in the top 5. He has prototypical size at 6’8″ but is more of a raw talent at this point. He’s very athletic with speed, strength and the ability to play above the rim.

It will be interesting to see how things play out as opinions vary on the order that these five should go after Cunningham likely gets picked by the Pistons.

What’s next for Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and the 76ers?

Ben Simmons 2021 playoffs

The collapse in Philly against the Hawks will have some serious repercussions.

So many things went wrong, but so much of the problem revolves around Ben Simmons and his inability (or unwillingness) to generate offense. For a player making $30 million per year, this is a serious problem.

Everyone sees the problem:

Everyone on the court knew it. Game 7s are when legends are made. This one made Simmons into the opposite of that. He was the anti-Jordan, the anti-Durant, a player so uncomfortable in the moment that he couldn’t even bring himself to try. For four quarters, Simmons exuded a fear that infected everyone in its radius. He attempted just four shots from the field, didn’t even look to attack. It sucked the life out of the crowd. It sucked the life out of his teammates. It sucked the benefit of the doubt right out of his coach.

Simmons can’t shoot free throws. He had the lowest free-throw percentage in the history of the NBA playoffs. You literally can’t play him late in a close game. He won’t shoot in the fourth quarter. So you have a guard that won’t contribute to your offense in crunch time. He plays great defense and he can distribute the ball, but defenses have zero respect for his shot, so he doesn’t add spacing to your offense. He makes it worse.

Should the 76ers trade him? Can Doc Rivers salvage him as a player? Rivers made it pretty clear after the game that he didn’t know if Simmons could be the guy. The situation is a mess, and the braintrust in Philly needs to get creative.

Kevin Durant comes up short against the Bucks

Kevin Durant interview 2021 after loss to Bucks

Kevin Durant and the Nets were down 2 to the Bucks in game 7 with the clock winding down, and Kevin Duran had the ball in his hands. Durant launches a spectacular jumper . . . for the win? No, his foot was on the line. It could have been a career-defining shot, but his feet were on the line. The shot tied the game as opposed to winning it.

Fast forward to overtime, and Durant had another chance. But he was exhausted by then, and that three-pointer caught nothing but air. An air ball to end the game.

It was a great series, and you have to give Giannis Antetokounmpo credit, but it seems pretty clear that a Healthy Nets team would have won this series. Kyrie Irving was dominating the Bucks before getting hurt, and James Harden did his best to pay on an injured hamstring, but he just wasn’t himself in this series.

The Bucks clearly had some good fortune on their side, though this gritty performance to somehow pull out this series has left them in a good position. The Bucks are now favored to win it all, as there certainly isn’t an elite team standing in their way. But it’s certainly not a lock. The Bucks are good, but not great.