Cream City's Potential New Duo

by Jackson Helie

How Giannis Antetokounmpo can get his own Scottie Pippen

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The Milwaukee Bucks have been one of the biggest letdowns of the last two NBA seasons. The Bucks have had the best record in the NBA for the last two seasons, with a record of 56-17 in this year’s suspended season and 60-22 in the ‘18-’19 season. In addition to their quality records the Bucks undeniably have the most dominant player since Shaquille O’Neal in their lineup: Giannis Antetokounmpo. Giannis has won consecutive Most Valuable Player awards and produces all-time great statistics: he averaged 27.7 points per game and 12.5 rebounds per game in his ‘18-’19 campaign and 29.5 PPG and 13.6 RPG in the 2019-20 season. Both the Bucks record and Giannis’s statistics show the dominance they’ve put on the league in the last few seasons, but those are merely the regular season statistics. If the Bucks wish to advance past the Eastern Conference Finals, they need a playmaker and veteran that can pull the team together and give it proper leadership.

When it comes to the playoffs, the Bucks have been much less successful. They lost in the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the ‘18-’19 season to the Toronto Raptors, and in the second round of this year’s playoffs to the underdog Miami Heat. Although Giannis was injured during this year’s second round, there were little to no excuses for the Raptors series. Most people thought that Giannis would come back this season looking for blood, which is exactly what happened during the regular season, but once the playoffs hit, not only Giannis but also the entire Milwaukee Bucks team fizzled out. The last two seasons showed the world that, while the east became more competitive with the rise of young stars like Jason Tatum, Pascal Siakam, and Bam Adebayo, Giannis needs another star to compliment him.

Chris Paul arose as a leading contender for Giannis’s right-hand man after his magnificent campaign with the Oklahoma City Thunder this season. Chris Paul was traded to the Thunder on July 16th, 2019; a team that he had no intention of even joining. After a few successful seasons with the Rockets, there was a clear understanding that his age was catching up with him and he was simply not as productive as he had been in the past. His scoring decreased from 18.8 PPG to 17.1 PPG, and his assists went down from 9.8 APG to 8. Although his stats didn’t shine as they had on the Clippers, during his first season with the Thunder, he carried Oklahoma to the 5th seed in the playoffs, despite the 0.2% chance experts gave Oklahoma to even make the playoffs Clearly, Chris Paul had done something right by taking a leadership position on the Thunder, which is exactly what he had done on the Clippers during their successful years in the early 2010s.

Now, rumors have sprung up about where Chris Paul will land this offseason as he has made it clear to the Thunder’s organization that he does not plan to return. There are speculations of Paul arriving in Philadelphia, New York, but most of all, Milwaukee. Giannis has spent his career with average point guards at best, so to have an all-NBA player and a solidified hall of fame guard like Paul would be the boost Giannis needs. Milwaukee also has the salary space to pay for Paul, as they will let Malcolm Brogdon walk in free agency. As Paul is older, he wouldn’t need the payment that he has previously seen, also due to Giannis’s max contract and Milwaukee not being a very marketable team. Chris Pauls’s addition to the books could give Giannis and a player like Khris Middleton the support they need in the frontcourt, as well as the leadership and veteran role the young Milwaukee squad lacks. If Chris Paul is able to be as productive and surprising as he was on the Thunder this year, as well as complement Giannis by providing scoring to the frontcourt , the Bucks could finally have the title-contending team they’ve so desperately been looking for.