For the second consecutive year, the No. 1 seeded Milwaukee Bucks have been eliminated from the NBA Playoffs earlier than expected. Last year, the Toronto Raptors handed Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks an ECF loss. This year, the fifth-seed Miami Heat bounced Milwaukee one round earlier.
There is growing concern around the nucleus that Milwaukee’s front office has surrounded its global superstar with. In addition to the growing concern, Antetokounmpo, perhaps the best player on the planet today, will hit unrestricted free agency following the 2020-21 season.
Top Places for Giannis Antetokounmpo to Win
Following the Footsteps of Another Legend?
“I know what the goal is — the goal is to win a championship,” Antetokounmpo said to reporters inside the NBA Bubble.
On Thursday, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported the Bucks are prepared to offer Antetokounmpo the five-year super-maximum as soon as free agency begins this offseason. Yet, the questions remain.
Can the Bucks add pieces to secure a championship for Antetokounmpo in Milwaukee? Will Antetokounmpo demand a trade prior? Or, will Giannis turn down this maximum contract for a chance at free agency?
If Antetokounmpo opts to end his tenure in Milwaukee early, what are the best options for him to win? Last Word on Pro Basketball breaks down the teams that give him the best chance at a title.
Giannis Antetokounmpo Takes His Talents to South Beach?
Picture this. A decade after King James took his own talents to South Beach, the storyline is repeated with Antetokounmpo. A year after the Heat eliminated the 2020 NBA Championship favorite Bucks nonetheless.
Yes, that would be dramatic, newsworthy, and have a whole lot of déjà vu.
Heat Team President Pat Riley is considered a big reason why James made this decision in 2010. Riley has always provided the Miami Heat with a winning culture and ability to serve the needs of superstar talents. The allure of the city of Miami, a winning culture, and joining a squad laden with talent are attractive for any free agent. Front office and team history? Check.
Heat stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo are under contract for at least the next two seasons. It’s expected Miami will attempt to retain this talented duo long-term, which will be easier after a lengthy 2020 playoff run. The Heat also possesses a young, talented core in Tyler Herro, Kendrick Nunn, and Duncan Robinson. Talent? Check.
Additionally, there is the Erik Spoelstra factor. Previously unknown, Spoelstra helped transform James’ career in Miami. A prolific game-planner, Spoelstra is known for his ability to challenge his stars and create unique game plans both offensively and defensively. For any situation. Coaching? Check.
Tim Legler says Erik Spoelstra might be the best coach in the league
"This might be the most well coached team in the NBA right now."
(🎥 ESPN) pic.twitter.com/cnoGG8C6do
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) September 3, 2020
Joins the Golden State Dynasty?
Despite several injury-riddled seasons, the Golden State Warriors still possess their championship core. Some of this core may be aging in Draymond Green, but Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are still playing at elite levels.
With Andrew Wiggins in the mix, Golden State would need to trim space to make way for Antetokounmpo. Curry is a no-brainer and a Warrior for life. Thompson stretches the floor and the Warriors should look to unload Wiggins and Green for cheaper contracts. But the overall talent? Check.
The Warriors’ dynasty took a brief hiatus this year, but there is, perhaps, no better winning culture in the NBA. Since 2014, Golden State has appeared in five NBA Finals, winning the championship in three of them. The pieces of the championship including the talent, head coach Steve Kerr, and the front office remain the same. Winning culture? Check.
One last tantalizing prospect for Antetokounmpo? Golden State opened a new $1.4 billion arena in downtown San Francisco at the beginning of 2019. The state-of-the-art Chase Center. Attractive destination? Check.
The Chase Center is officially open! From @warriors games, to pop-up concerts, to art murals, @chasecenter has something for everyone! Learn more about the new arena: https://t.co/DDqfeTlFcl pic.twitter.com/0EMsmlr4uF
— Chase (@Chase) September 4, 2019
Giannis Antetokounmpo Heads North?
The Toronto Raptors are a game seven victory away from their second-consecutive Eastern Conference Finals appearance. All on the heels of the first-ever title in franchise history in 2019. Head Coach Nick Nurse is widely considered one of the best coaches in the league. Simply put, Toronto has vaulted itself into one of the NBA’s top winning cultures. Championship pedigree? Check.
As far as talent goes, Pascal Siakam is under contract through 2023-24. The rest of the roster have shorter contracts, giving Toronto incredible flexibility in constructing a championship team. The pieces to keep? Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, and Norman Powell. And yes, this team without Kawhi Leonard still possesses the talent to compete for a championship in 2020. Talented roster? Check.
Toronto has both the pieces and culture to attract Antetokounmpo. Much like Spoelstra in Miami, Nurse has the ability to tailor his game-planning to best fit his roster’s needs. A roster with Antetokounmpo, Lowry, Siakam, and others? That’s a dream for any coach.
KYLE LOWRY. ICE COLD 🥶 pic.twitter.com/7t8LGoYWOI
— ESPN (@espn) September 10, 2020
One Team to Avoid: New York Knicks
It should be noted, Antetokounmpo owns enough individual talent to boost any team’s championship hopes. There is, however, one team eyeing ‘The Greek Freak’ that would be a disastrous spot for his career narrative.
After a decade of misery, it seems like every offseason the New York Knicks are looking to make a splash in free agency. The Knicks will declare themselves in the mix if Antetokounmpo hits unrestricted free agency. Giannis, if you’re reading this article, don’t sign with New York. The Knicks franchise remains in despair. From missing out on free agents to seven-straight years without a postseason appearance, New York is a place where careers go to die.
Embed from Getty Images