The Milwaukee Bucks were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs last season. They played seven hard-fought games against the Boston Celtics, who ended up advancing to the NBA Finals.
On the "KJM" podcast, Jay Williams, a former NBA player, said that he thinks Milwaukee are still the best team in the East and that they would have beaten the Celtics with a fully fit Khris Middleton. Middleton suffered a wrist injury in the postseason after playing in only two first-round games.
"I think the Milwaukee Bucks are the best team in the East. I firmly believe that the Milwaukee Bucks would have beaten the Celtics last year if Khris Middleton was available," Williams said.
"Khris Middleton is a 50-40-90 type of basketball player. He may not have the s*x appeal of the bigger names like Kawhi Leonards and LeBron James' and Kyrie Irvings, but he gets the job done."
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Milwaukee Bucks are still incredibly dangerous
In Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee have one of the best players in the league. The Bucks forward is fantastic on both ends of the floor and a perennial MVP candidate.
The Bucks also have a great supporting cast. Khris Middleton averaged 20.1 points per game last season, tied for the third-best mark of his career. Considering his importance to the team, it's not surprising that they fell flat following his injury.
The Bucks also have a fantastic two-way player in Jrue Holiday, who put on a show last season. Holiday had one of the best seasons of his career, averaging 18.3 points and 6.8 assists per game.
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The Celtics needed seven games to defeat the injury-depleted Milwaukee Bucks. If Middleton had played, things would have probably been different. However, the Bucks will have a chance to avenge their loss next season.
According to Caesars Sportsbook, the Bucks have +750 odds to win the 2023 NBA title. They are tied with the Brooklyn Nets, just behind the Golden State Warriors (+600) and the Boston Celtics (+500).
Considering that the Warriors and the Celtics played in the 2022 NBA Finals, their status as favorites is not surprising.